Skip to main content

Full text of "Joyce Kilmer"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 



\ ■ 










© l-;:knl-OM M.I U:,d 







Copyright, 1914, 1917, 1918 
By George H. Doran Company 

Pbinted in the United States of Amebica 




The Smart Set, Munsey's Magasme and Puck — 
a curiously assorted company, highly expressive of 
the catholicity of the mind these pages reflect. 

The article on Hilaire Belloc, originally one of 
Kilmer*s lectures, was first printed in the American 
edition of Belloc*s "Verses." The early poems have 
been chosen from Kilmer's first book, "A Summer 
of Love," now out of print, rights to which are held 
by Mrs. Aline Kilmer. Poems not otherwise cred- 
ited have been reprinted from the volumes already 
published by George H. Doran Company. 

R. C» S* 

New York, 1918. 



Meiioib IT 


Rouge Bouquet 106 

The Peacemaker 108 

Prayeb of a Soldieb in France 109 

When the Slstt-ninth Comes Back 110 

Mirage du Cantonment 118 


Wartime Christmas. 117 

Main Street 118 

Roofs WO 

The Snowman in the Yard 12« 

A Blue Valentinb 124 

Houses 127 

In Memory 128 

Apology 181 

The Proud Poet 188 

Lionel Johnson , 187 

Father Gerard Hopkins, S.J 188 

Gates and Doors * 189 

The Robe of Christ 142 

The Singing Girl 145 

The Annunciation 146 

Roses 147 

The Visitation 149 

Multiplication 150 

Thanksgiving 152 

The Thorn 158 




The Big Top 154 

Mid-ocean in War-tpob 157 

QiTEEN Elizabeth Speaks 158 

In Memory of Rupert Brooke 159 

The New School ': 160 

Eaoter Week 168 

The Cathedral of Rhedhs 165 

Kings 169 

The White Ships and the Red 170 

The Twelve-Forty-Five 174 

Pennies 178 

Trees 180 

Stars 181 

Old Poets 188 

Delicatessen 185 

Servant Girl and Grocer's Boy 190 

Weai^th 192 

Martin 198 

The Apartment House 194 

As Winds That Blow Against a Star 196 

St. Laurence 197 

To A Young Poet Who Killed Himself 198 

Memorial Day 200 

The Rosary 201 

Vision 202 

To Certain Poets 208 

Love's Lantern 205 

St. Alexis 206 

Folly 208 

Madness 210 

Poets 211 

CinzEN of the World 1^12 




To A Blackbird AND His Mate Who DiEDiN THE Sfrino 218 

The Foubth Shepherd 215 

Easter 218 

Mount Houvenkopp 219 

The House with Nobody in It 220 

Dave Lillt 228 

Alarm Clocks « 226 

Waveblet 227 


In a Book-shop 281 

Slender Your Hands 282 

Sleep Song 288 

White Bird of Love 284 

Transfiguration 286 

Ballade of My Ladt's Beaxttt 287 

For a Birthday 289 

Wayfarers 242 

Princess Ballade 244 

Lullaby for a Baby Fairy 246 

A Dead Poet 248 

The Mad Fiddler 249 

The Grass in Madison Square 251 

Said the Rose 252 

Metamorphosis 254 

For a Child 255 

The Clouded Sun (To A. S.) 256 

The Poet's Epitaph 259 

Beauty's Hair 260 

The Way of Love 262 

Chevely Crossing 267 

The Other Lover < 270 



Joyce Ejlmeb, Aob SO Frontispiece 


Peacemaker ** 108 

Joyce Ejlmeb» Age 91 240 





IT IS the felicity of these pages that they cannot 
be dull. It is their merit, peculiar in such a 
memoir, that they cannot be sad. It is their novelty 
that they can be restricted in appeal only by the 
varieties of the himian species* It is their good 
fortune that they can be extraordinarily frank. It 
is their virtue that they cannot fail to do unmeasur- 
able good. And it is their luck to abide many days. 
With their subject how could it be otherwise? 
They make not a wreath, but a chronicle, and in 
their assembled facts tell a bright chapter in the his- 
tory of our time. If there is one word which more 
than any other should be linked with the name of 
this gaUant figure now claimed (and rightly) by so 
many elements of the nation, that word certainly is 
"American." A character and a career so racy, 
typical of all that everybody likes to believe that at 
our best we are, can hardly be matched, I think, out- 
side of stories. 


Joyce Kilmer was reported in the papers as hav- 
ing said, just before he sailed for France, that he 
was "half Irish," and that was why he belonged with 




the boys of the Sixty-ninth. His birth was not ex- 
actly eloquent of this fact. Though, indeed, he was, 
as will appear, a much more ardent Irishman than 
many an Irishman born — ^that is, in the sense of 
keenly savouring those things which are fine in the 
Irish character, and with characteristic gusto feel- 
ing within himself an affinity with them. Later, in 
a letter from France to his wife, he was more ex- 
plicit on this point: 

As to the matter of my own blood (you men- 
tioned this in a previous letter) I did indeed tell a 
good friend of mine who edits the book-review page 
of a Chicago paper that I was "half Irish^ ' But I 
have never been a mathematician. The point I 
wished to make was that a large percentage — ^which 
I have a perfect right to call half — of my ancestry 
was Irish. For proof of this, you have only to refer 
to the volumes containing the histories of my moth- 
er's and my father's families. Of course I am 
American, but one cannot be pure American in 
blood unless one is an Indian. And I have the good 
fortune to be able to claim, largely because of the 
wise matrimonial selections of my progenitors on 
both sides, Irish blood. And don't let anyone pub- 
lish a statement contrary to this. 

He also, in a letter from France, quoted with 
much reUsh the remark of Father Francis P. Duffy 


that he was ^'half Grerman and half human/* 
English and Scotch strains made up another half 
or three quarters. The English goes straight back 
to one Thomas Kilbume, church warden at Wood- 
dilton, near Newmarket, in Cambridgeshire, who 
came to Connecticut in 1638. The "e" was lost 
apparently in Massachusetts, and the word became, 
as in his mother's maiden name, Eilbum. 

Soldier blood, too, flowed in his veins — though it 
is likely that this fact for the first time occurred to 
him, if at all, when his nature rose white-hot to 
arms. He was, so to say, a Colonial Dame on both 
sides, as members of both his father's and his moth- 
er's family fought in the American Revolution; and 
members of his father's family in the French and 
Indian wars. 

Alfred Joyce Kilmer (as he was christened) was 
bom at New Brunswick, New Jersey, December 6, 
1886, son of Annie Kilbum and Frederick Kilmer. 
Though he seems always to have been, in familiar 
address and allusion, called Joyce, the Alfred did 
not disappear from his address and signature until 
he began, as more or less of a professional writer, 
to publish his work, when it went the way of the 
Newton in Mr. Tarkington's name, and the Enoch 
in Mr. Bennett's. Then ''Joyce Kilmer" acquired a 




fine humorous disdain for what he regarded as the 
florid note in literary signatures of three words (or, 
worse still to his mind, the A. Joyce kind of thing) ; 
and he enjoyed handing down, with much relish of 
the final and judicial character of his utterance, the 
opinion that the proper sort of a trademark, so to 
say, for success in letters was something short, 
pointed, easy to say and to remember, such as Rud- 
yard Kipling, Mark Twain, O. Henry, Joseph 
Conrad, and so on through illustrations carried, at 
length, to intentionally infuriating nimibers. 

As a small boy, Kilmer is described by those who 
knew him then as the "funniest" small boy they 
ever saw, by which is meant, apparently, that he was 
an odd spectacle. And this, of course, is so alto- 
gether in line with literary tradition that it would 
have been odd if he had not been an oddity in the 
way of a spectacle. He wore queer clothes, it seems, 
ordinary stockings with bicycle breeches, and that 
sort of thing. He didn't altogether fit in somehow, 
couldn't find himself, was somewhat of an outsider 
among the juvenile clans; he was required to fight 
other boys a good deal ; he evidenced a pronounced 
inability to comprehend anything at all of arith- 
metic; and somewhere between eight and twelve (so 
the report goes) he contracted a violent passion for 


a lady, of about thirty-five, who was his teacher at 
school; a passion which endured for a considerable 
time, and became a hilarious legend among the 
youth about him of jocose himiour. 

It is told that at "Prep" school, when this goal 
seemed rather imlikely of his attainment, he made 
up his mind to stand at the head of his class; and 
with something like the later Kilmerian exercise of 
wiU he accompHshed his purpose. 

Kilmer was graduated from Rutgers College in 
1904, and received his A. B. from Colimibia in 1906. 
His University life seems to have been, in outward 
eflFect, fairly normal. There is no ready evidence 
that he "shone" particularly, and none that he failed 
to "shine." He was not deported by the authorities, 
and he was not unanimously hailed the idol of his 
classmates. He became a member of Delta Upsilon 
fraternity: and he was, of course, active in college 
journalism. Then as always he appears to have 
been zestful in living well, to have counted sufiicient 
to the day the excellence thereof, and to have been 
too T^arm with life to be calculating in expenditures. 
He retained in the years that followed — ^and it 
seems to have been the college memory he retained 
most distinctly— a humorous recoUection of his con- 
suming his aUowance on an abundance of rich 



viands during the first few days of each month, and 
being reduced to the necessity of Kving precariously 
on a meagre ration of crackers and sandwiches 
thereafter — ^until next income day. 

Characteristic of the vehement manner in which 
he went after life, as a Sophomore Kilmer became 
engaged to Miss Aline Murray, of New Jersey, a 
step-daughter of Henry Mills Alden, editor of 
Harper's Magazine. Upon leaving Colimibia he 
took up the business of making a living in the way 
of an elder American intellectual tradition, by 
teaching school in a (more or less ) nu^al community. 
He returned to NeV Jersey and began his career as 
instructor of Latin at Morristown High School. 
So slight a lad he was, even several years after this 
time, that it is difficult to picture him in the discip- 
linary adventures of the classic figiu'e of this call- 
ing. His problems at Morristown doubtless were 
dissimilar to those of his early, Hoosier, prototype. 
He married and became a householder. His son, 
Kenton, was bom. In religion he had been bred an 
Episcopalian, and during this period in New Jersey 
(it is told) he acted as a lay reader in this church. 

He soon concluded, apparently, that pedagogy 
was, so to say, no life for a boy. At the conclusion 
of a year's teaching he tore up the roots he had 


planted, and, together with the young lady he had 
married, and the son bom to them, and with a few 
youthful poems in his pocket, he advanced upon the 
metropolis, even in the classic way, on the ancient 
quest of conscious talent. 

The rapidity and brilliance of Joyce Kihner's 
success has altogether obscured his very democratic 
beginnings. As his initial occupation in New York, 
he obtained, by a lucky chance, employment as 
editor of a journal for horsemen, though of horses 
he had no particular knowledge — ^to be exact, no 
such knowledge whatever. Here finding httle to 
do, and discovering one day in a desk drawer a 
bulky manuscript, he decided — as he was editor — ^to 
edit it. This, apparently, he did with youthful en- 
ergy. The little job he mentioned with some satis- 
faction to his employed, a fine portly sportsman 
with a crimson face and an irascible temper. The 
young editor explained that the manuscript evi- 
dently had been written by a man familiar with 
horses, but one apparently innocent of the art of 
literary composition. "Young man," beUowed his 
employer, "I would have you understand I have 
been through the best veterinary coUege in the 
world, and I have been a veterinary myself for over 
forty years." His wife, he added, was his amanu- 



ensis, and he guessed she knew something about 
^ting. The editorship came to an abrupt termi- 

Then followed a brief sojourn, at a salary of (I 
think ) eight dollars a week, as retail salesman in the 
book store of Charles Scribner's Sons, a dignity 
which the young litterateiu* wore with himiorous 
dignity for exactly two weeks. A distinct mental 
impression of him of this time presents him as decid- 
edly like an Eton boy in general eflFect, and it seems 
that a large white collar and a small-size high hat 
should have gone with him to make the picture quite 
right. One who met him then felt at once a gra- 
cious, slightly courtly, young presence. He gave 
forth an aroma of excellent, gentlemanly manners. 
He frequently pronounced, as an indication that he 
had not heard you clearly, the word "Pardon?" — 
with a slight forward incKnation of his head, which, 
altogether, was adorable. His smile, never far 
away, when it came was winning, charming. It 
broke like spring sunshine, it was so fresh and warm 
and clear. And there was noticeable then in his eyes 
a light, a quiet glow which marked him as a spirit 
not to be forgotten. So tenderly boyish was he in 
eflFect that his confreres among the book clerks ac- 
cepted with diflSculty the story that he was married. 


When it was told that he had a son they gasped their 
incredulity. And when one day this extraordinary 
elfin sprite remarked that at the time of his honey- 
moon he had had a beard they felt (I remember) 
that the world was without power to astonish them 

As a retail salesman, however, this exceedingly 
interesting young man did not make a high mark. 
One's general impression of him "on the floor" is a 
picture of a happy student, standing, entranced, 
frequently with his back to the (ioor (which theoret- 
icaUy he should have been watching for incoming 
customers), day after day engrossed in perusing a 
rare edition of "Madame Bovary." One sensational 
feat of business he did as a clerk perform. Mis- 
reading, in his newness to these hieroglyphics, the 
cypher in which in stores the prices of books are 
marked on the fly leaves of the volimaes, he sold to a 
lady a himdred-and-fifty-dollar book for a dollar 
and a half. This transaction being what is termed a 
"charge sale," not a "cash sale," and amid some ex- 
citement the matter being immediately I'ectified, dis- 
aster for the amateur salesman was averted. - 

At Scribner's a close friendship was, almost at 
once, formed between the youthful poet and another 
then unpublished writer acting at that time in the 



same capacity of clerk — ^a friendship which was 
never diminished by the nimierous shif tings of Kil- 
mer's pelds of activity, the multitudinous, diverse 
and ardent interests which he acquired in an ever- 
mounting measure, and the steady addition of num- 
berless friends of all classes who eagerly yielded him 
their devotion. It was rather a friendship which 
was continually cemented by increasing and closer 
bonds. It was a part of Kilmer's spirit to make his 
first friend in his literary life a sharer as far as was 
possible in each new success of his own. One among 
many, inmrnierablCj instances of this was his con- 
triving, by his influence with the editor (at that time 
another intimate, Louis H. Wetmore), to work his 
friend into a position somewhat rivaling his own at 
the period (1912-1913) when he was the bright and 
shining star reviewer for the New York Times Me- 
view of Books. The regular Tuesday lunching to- 
gether of these two friends when their offices were 
widely separated became, at least in their own 
fancy, an American literary institution. The two 
were united in aU the symbols of affection between 
men. And at seasons of rejoicing and adversity the 
Kilmer house was to his friend as his own. It is to 
this one who among all of Joyce Kilmer's friends 
owes him the greatest debt of friendship has come 



the supreme trust of writing, within the power of his 
many and conscious limitations, this Memoir, and 
editing these volumes. 

Dropping the very small bird which he held in his 
hand in the way of a secure salary, the spectacular 
bookseller, somewhat to twist the figure, plunged 
again into uncharted seas, and became a lexico- 
grapher, as an editorial assistant in the work of pre- 
paring a new edition of the Standard Dictionary. 
He blithely began his Johnsonian labours by defin- 
ing ordinary words assigned to him, at a pay of five 
cents for each word defined. This is a very differ- 
ent thing indeed from receiving a rate of five cents 
a word for writing. It is a task at which you can 
obtain an average of perhaps ten or twelve dollars 
a week, though some weeks "stickers" will hold you 
back. It soon became apparent, evidently, that it 
was advisable to put this very capable pieceworker 
on a salary ; and he was rapidly promoted, with cor- 
responding increases in remuneration (reaching an 
amount of something like four times his initial earn- 
ings), to more advanced phases of the work: re- 
search into dates of birth (involving correspondence 
with living celebrities) ; research into the inception 
of inventions (as, for example, the introduction of 
the barrier into horse racing) ; together with the 



defining of words of contemporary origin, in, for in- 
stance, the nomenclature of aviation. In this last 
mentioned department, it was his oflSce to call upon 
authorities, such as the Wright brothers, and upon 
presentation of his credentials to receive precise in- 
formation. He interviewed famous tobacco im- 
porters, and coffee merchants ; compiled in the New 
.York Public Library material about fans; un- 
earthed for use as an illustration a picture of a 
strange bird ; or was assigned to collect for this pur- 
pose designs of ancient mouldings. 

If lexicography was Kilmer's venerable occupa- 
tion, by political faith he was at the time, this very 
young, young man, a sociahst. He subscribed for 
and frequently contributed to the Call newspaper. 
And the height of his effervescence was in address- 
ing meetings of the proletariat. He was, it must 
be said, a burning ''joxing radical." He fre- 
quented, to some extent, a club of that name. And 
with a joyous consciousness of being in the char- 
acter of his surroundings he ate meals at the Rand 
School of Social Science. He rapidly acquired 
a wonderful string of queer acquaintances, in 
whose idiosyncrasies he took immense delight. 
Some, not of the persuasion, fancied that as an ad- 
herent of the socialist party he was merely enam- 


oured of an intellectual idea. At any rate, when- 
ever in conyersation he spoke of socialism, as he 
frequently did, his graceful, amiable young feat- 
ures assumed a very firm and earnest aspect. 
Exactly the point of transition, if there was any 
decided point, I cannot recall, but from the proleta- 
riat he passed to the literati. A "man of letters" be- 
came a great word with him. And he looked rather 
proudly about as he said it, as a Scot might speak 
of the doughty deeds of the Scotch. He was wont 
to refer, too, to the "intellectual aristocracy." His 
luncheon engagements were now mostly with this 
order of himianity, and his anecdotes featured such 
figures as Richard Le Gallienne and Bliss Carman 
— men whose personalities delighted his heart be- 
yond measure. 

How absurdly juvenile he looked. But you would 
have noted, as you observed him, that he had a very 
fine head, something like that of Arthur Symons 
(without the moustache), I thought; or, according 
to Mr. Le Gallienne's sympathetic picture in The 
Bookman: "Though the resemblance was perhaps 
only a spiritual expression, his then thin, austere 
young face, with those strangely strong and gentle 
eyes (eyes that seemed to have an independent, 
dominating existence), reminded me of Lionel 



Johnson, for whom he had abeady a great adoura* 
tion, and whose religion he was afterwards to em- 
brace." Or, again, he seemed as if he might be a 
comely youth oul; of ancient Greece, I think that 
what I mean is that he was so milike aU other yomig 
men anyone had ever seen walking about, so much 
brighter and purer, or some indescribable thing, 
that he did not seem altogether reaL A feeling 
which I think was shared by many, and which I 
have never quite been able to make articulate, Mr, 
Le Gallienne has most happily expressed with hiid 
own easy charm; that is the "hint of destiny" in this 
"very concentrated, intense young presence — mas- 
culine intense, not feminine:" 

We have all met young people who give us that 
— ^beautiful, brilliant, lovely natured, so superabun- 
dant in all their qualities (and particularly perhaps 
in some quality of emanating light) — as to make 
them suggest the supernatural, and touched, too, 
with the finger of a moonlight that has written 
"fated" upon their brows. Probably our feeling is 
nothing more mysterious than our realisation that 
temperaments so vital and intense must inevitably 
tempt richer and swifter fates than those less wild 

Above all, this young gentleman was the portrait 
of a poet, even (in those days) of the type of liter- 


uy sophistication which is (or was) called deca- 
dent I There was about him a perceptible aroma of 
literary self -consciousness. He had begun to con- 
tribute to magazines and newspapers the verses 
which he soon gathered into a first volume, "A 
Summer of Love" (an "author's book," as the trade 
term has it) , verses patently derivative in character 
(as whose early verses are not?), showing the in- 
fluences of various masters. 

He had already become a bit of a celebrity, ar- 
riving at twenty-five in ?FAo'« ?FAo. In conversa- 
tion he spoke with striking fluency and precision, 
and a rather amusing effect of authority; all of 
which, together with a ready command, rather in- 
congruous for his years, of very apt words little em- 
ployed in speech, gave a general impression, I 
fancy, of something of an infant prodigy. He 
wrote in a letter of this time of the poems of Cov- 
entry Patmore : 

I have come to regard them with intense admira- 
tion. Have you read them? Patmore seems to me 
to be a greater poet than Francis Thompson. ( Kil- 
mer, had by the way, just given a lecture at Co- 
lumbia University on Francis Thompson. ) He has 
not the rich vocabulary, the decorative erudition, 
the Shelleyan enthusiasm, which distinguish th^ 
''Sister Songs" and the "Hound of Heaven," but 



he has a classical simplicity, a restraint and sincerity 
which make his poems satisfying. Some of his 
shorter poems, such as "Alexander and Lycon" and 
"The Toys," approach Landor in their Greek econ- 
omy. Of com'se, the "Angel in the House," and 
many other of his poems, are marred by Tennyson- 
ian influences. But the "Unknown Eros" is a work 
of stupendous beauty. It is certainly supreme 
among modem religious poems. That part of it 
devoted to Eros and Psyche is remarkably daring 
and remarkably fine. Psyche symbolizes the soul, 
and Eros the love of God. Their amour is de- 
scribed with reaUstic minuteness, even with humor- 
ous flippancy, and yet the whole poem is alive with 
religious feeling. 

The finding of Patmore, by the way, was what 
might be called a finger-post in Kilmer*s life. The 
fortunate introduction was performed by, it is my 
impression, Kilmer's friend Thomas Walsh. 

If in cold print to-day there is a slightly prepos- 
terous didactic quality in these remarks of this 
youthful character, it should be instantly noted as 
a tribute to the charm that was his that in the pres- 
ence of so much handsomeness and grace, combined 
with so much flexibility of mind and agile himiour, 
even this was an engaging thing. 

There was to Kilmer nothing whatever dry-as- 


dust about the erudite business of lexicography; 
instead his impressionable nature found among his 
co-workers a rich, a colourful, an exciting school of 
humanity. He glowed continually with affection- 
ate amusement at the motley band of literary ad- 
venturers, intellectual soldiers of fortune, who ap- 
parently were his colleagues. One, the most motley 
perhaps of all (the long cherished dream of whose 
ancient bachelor life it was one day to write a pop- 
ular song) , touched, for the first time, I think, the 
deepest spring of his song— his profound and wide- 
ranging humanity. 

Some people ask: *'VVhat cruel chance 
Made Martin's life so sad a story?*' 

Martin? Why, he exhaled romance. 
And wore an overcoat of glory. 


And then, lol the aesthete became a churchman. 
After a couple of years or so pf lexicographic em- 
ployment, work on the dictionary was completed, 
and Kilmer entered what, with immense gusto, he 
described as '^reUgious journalism." He became 
literary editor of The Churchman. 

He had completed a very thorough course in up- 
town New York apartment house life (living, I 



think, in rapid succession in some half dozen speci- 
mens of "the great stone box cruelly displayed 
severe against the pleasant arc of sky") ; and now 
removing to the suburban village of Mahwah, New 
Jersey, in the Ramapo foothills, he entered upon his 
career as one of the world's most accomplished com- 
muters. He used to say, with a spacious gesture of 
the arm and a haughty inflation of the chest, that it 
was no life at all, no life at all, for a man not to 
swing around an orbit of at least sixty miles a day 
between his office and his home. His home, even so I 

I never have seen a vagabond who really liked to 

All up and down the streets of the world and not to 

have a home. 

. What more exhilarating experience than the 
owning of a home I And one paid one's installments 
on the biiilding loan with the fine pride of a man 
exercising a noble prerogative. Yes, he often 
walked to Suffem along the Erie track, and medi- 
tated on "what a house should do, a house that has 
sheltered life," 

That has put its loving xwooden arms around a man 

and his wife, 
A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up 

his stumbling feet. 



As became a churchman, he began to hold forth to 
his companion on the train to and from the city on 
the fascinations of the Anglican poets. Either his 
enthusiasm for the subject resulted in a series of 
articles on the theme, or an assignment for such a 
series of articles resulted in his enthusiasm, I don't 
know which. The significant point is tiiat it was 
just as like to have been either way about. 'Tasson 
Hawker" — ^Robert Stephen Hawker — ^Vicar of 
Morwenstow, a coast life-guard in a cassock — ^who 
can recite off hand the deeds of his piety and his 
valour ? Well, on the Erie smoker he became one of 
the most romantic figures of story. Robert Her- 
rick, in a manner of speaking, went home many a 
night on the Twelve-Forty-Five (Robert Herrick, 
that is, with his "Unbaptized Rhimes'* left out), 
and Bishop Coxe returned on the Seven«Fifty-Six 
in the morning. 

Kilmer had already done a few book reviews for 
The Nation and for the New York Times; but at 
The Churchman he acquired such a proficiency at 
this exercise that he was able, jocularly, to regard 
Arnold Bennett, as a literary journalist, as a ""mere 
amateur." The real reward of "religious journal- 
ism,*' however, it soon developed, was the oppor- 
tunity of writing a feature which the secular might 



call an editorial, but the proper name of which this 
editor pronounced, in the tone and with the manner 
of one who was consciously engaged in something 
grand, gloomy and peculiar, as a "meditation." 

The real meditations of Joyce Kilmer, however, 
were not "meditations" so called, and partook in no 
wise of the nature of editorials. He had been, in the 
main, a graceful troubadour who thrummed pleas- 
ant things to his lady-love, and had a bright eye to 
his singing robes. He had thought it rather fine, 
too, that refrain in imitation of Richepin: 

May booze be plenty, bulls be few. 
The poet is the beggars' king. 

He had even been much taken, artistically, with the 
thought of absinthe: 

O little green god in your crystal shrine. 
Your heavenly dream-shower shed I 

It was when his business took him near to Grod, 
when his exploring spirit, upon a peak in Darien, 
beheld that : 

Poems are made by fools like me. 
But only God can make a tree, 

that he began to be a poet. "Trees," which more 
than all the rest he had written put together made 


lus reputation, appeared in Poetry ^ A Magazine of 
Verse in August, 1913. 

At about this period it was that he was altogether 
bom again. Then, doubtless in eastigatory reaction 
against his own aesthetic and ^'decadent'' wild oats» 
entered into his fibre that sovereign disdain for the 
intellectual flub-dub which later gave such a de- 
lightful note of "horse-sense" to all his humor* 
ous thought — ^the Johnsonian sting ("and don't you 
ttink you were an ass?") which found its earhest 
biting expression in the verses "To a Young Poet 
Who Killed Himself." 

"I Ve been leading a rather active life, for several 
days," was with a gay salute of the hand, a fre- 
quent Kilmerian remark. In 1912 the direction of 
the New York Times Review of Books fell into the 
hands of a high-spirited young man, a Max-Beer- 
bohmian character, with a decided taste for gaiety in 
reviews, Mr. Wetmore, who conducted that organ 
through what is known in New York journalistic 
tradition as its "meteoric period." Mr. Wetmore*s 
wit perceived in Kilmer his happiest rocket. Not 
only given his head but egged on by his editor to 
strive for sublime heights of fantasy, this fairly un- 
known contributor shot in a series of reviews which 
for readability was, the applause now indicated, an 



altogether new thing in the book pages of an Amer- 
ican newspaper. "This is a bad book, a very bad 
book, indeed," so ran the style. "It is bad because 
it makes this reviewer feel old and fat and bald/* 
If, together with their humorous assumption of a 
jovial cocksureness of manner, the literary judg- 
ments expressed were, of necessity, snap-shot judg- 
ments, there was nothing snap-shot nor assumed 
about a certain quality in them which in general 
effect was the most striking of all, namely, the re- 
flection in a very positive way of a radiantly clean 
and wholesome young nature, abounding in mental 
and spiritual health. 

As one of the general prime movers in, and for a 
number of years Corresponding Secretary of The 
Poetry Society of America, Kilmer engaged on the 
side in activities which for many another would have 
been in themselves almost a whole job. A fervent 
Dickensonian, he was for a long period president 
and (one felt) the animating principle of the Amer- 
ican Dickens Fellowship. He accumulated offices 
to such an extent that I am doubtful if anyone but 
himself knew exactly how many employments he 
had altogether, or at any one moment. He con- 
ducted the Poetry department of The Literary Di- 
gest for something like nine years, an obligation 


which he continued to fulfill even from Camp Mills, 
Long Island, to the time when he sailed for France. 
For a time he conducted a similar department in 
Current Literature , and also did a quarterly article 
on poetry for, I think, the Review of JReviews. 
Among his earlier essays in the lecture field was a 
paper on "'The Drama as an Instnmient of Sex 
Education,*' read before a regular meeting of the 
Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis held 
at the New York Academy of Medicine, in De- 
cember, 1913. The society with the playful name, 
I recollect, got seriously interested in the matter of 
sex education as then expounded. Their views on 
the drama in this connection were enlarged by 
acquisition of the idea that though " *The Great 
Love' is, in my opinion, one of the most skilfully 
constructed plays presented on the New York stage 
for many a year, I am quite serious in saying that as 
a factor in sex education, it is a thousand times in- 
ferior to *Bertha the Beautiful Cloak Model.' " 

As Kilmer was always decidedly what is termed 
a ready writer, what I should attempt to describe 
as a natural writer (a startling exception to the rule 
that easy writing makes hard reading) , so he ap- 
peared to have the gift of speaking readily in public. 
On frequent occasions^ at any rate in his early talks, 



he neglected altogether to prepare any outline he- 
forehand, and even sometimes to choose a subject. 
Every now and then, I have known him repeatedly 
to say to his companion at dinner, without, however, 
any trace at aU of nervousness: "Now, look here: 
Put your mind on this. Stop all that gossip. Tell 
me what I'm to talk about. I have to begin" (look- 
ing at his watch) "in twenty-five minutes.'' 

He was particularly active in the affairs of the 
Authors' Club, and was a member of the Vaga- 
bonds, the Colimibia University Club and the 
Alianza Puertorriguena. In 1913 he ceased, offi- 
cially, to be a churchman. For a brief period he 
contemplated the prospect of a professorship, lec- 
turing on EngUsh Literature at the University of 
the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Then, to his great 
delight, he became a newspaper man — as he continu- 
ally put it, with much relish in the part, "a hard 
newspaper man." He became a special writer for 
the New York Times Swnday Magasdne. I am sure 
he saw himself in fancy as one of those weather- 
beaten characters bred in the old-time newspaper 
school of booze, profanity and hard knocks, his only 
text-book the poKce-court blotter and the moulder 
of his youth a particularly brutal night city-editor. 
He maintained, with humorous arrogance against 


opposing argument, the thesis that ereiy great 
writer had got his '"training" as a newspaper man. 
He delighted to point, as illustrations of this, to 
Dickens, to Thackeray, and to a lot more, who, in 
any strict sense of the word, were not **newspaper 
men" at all. Hard pressed, he even stood ready to 
make some such hilariously sweeping assertion as 
that George Eliot, Shakespeare, Tennyson and 
Robert Browning were, properly perceived, "news- 
paper men." 

At any rate, this hard newspaper man had to 
begin with a comical equipment for his task: he 
would never learn \p typewrite and he knew nothing 
of shorthand. Or rather, he was remarkably well 
equipped, as one of the outstanding traits of his 
character was the fearless zest with which, so to say, 
he took the hurdles of life, and a peculiar faculty in 
triimiphing over such obstacles as his own limita* 
tions. He rapidly invented a curious system of 
abbreviations and marks to remind him of points, 
which served him as an interviewer as effectively as 
any knowledge of stenography could have done. 
He energetically entered upon his occupation as a 
feature writer with the customary themes of the 
"Sunday story." He interviewed, figuratively 
speaking, the man who had discovered the missing 



link, and he got from the latest inventor of perpet- 
ual motion all the arresting details of his machine. 
And a lively part of the early Sunday morning 
ritual at his home was the advance calculating with 
a tape measiu*e of the week's income from space 

It was later that he created his own highly suc- 
cessful type of literary interview. An intelligent 
perception of the business, a perception which is not 
general, perhaps is required fully to appreciate the 
fact that in this department of newspaper work he 
Was an exceedingly skillful journalist. The secret 
of his really brilliant success in this field lay in large 
part in his instinct for luring the distinguished sub- 
ject of bis interview into provocative statements, 
enabling him to employ such heads as : "Is O. Henry 
a Pernicious Literary Influence?" "Godlessness 
Mars Most Contemporary Poetry," "Americans 
Lack Loyalty To Their Writers," "Shackled 
Magazine Editors Harm Literature," "Declares 
Our Rich Authors Make Cheap Literature" and 
"Says American Literature Is Going To the 

At the time of the death of James Whitcomb 
Riley, Kilmer hurried to the Catskills for his inter- 
view with Bliss Carman. On his way back to the 


city, by way of his home at Mahwah, he dashed with 
his usual impetuosity in front of the moving train 
he was seeking to board, was knocked down and 
hurled or dragged a considerable distance, and 
taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital at Suffem, 
New York, with three ribs fractured and other in- 
juries; where, wiring immediately to New York for 
his secretary, he dictated an interview as engaging 
and as full of joumahstic craft as any he ever 
wrote. He seemed much more intent on his Sun- 
day story, it is reported by H. Christopher Watts, 
who was acting as his secretary at that time, than 
on his predicament. 

I did not see Kilmer at this time myself, but I 
have an idea that, when he had reheved his mind of 
the anxiety concerning his article, he entered into 
the spirit of his experience with much relish. It 
isn't every day that one gets hit by a train, nor 
everybody that hajs three ribs broken. Exhilarat- 
ing kind of thing, when you see it that way ! I re- 
member one time when I was practically in hospital 
myself he went to a good deal of trouble to come 
to see me. He seemed to admire my predicament 
very much, and, beaming upon me, remarked in 
high good hiunour that it must be an entertaining 
thing to be so completely at the mercy of circum- 



stances over which you had no control. When shall 
we look upon his like again 1 


I really doubt very much whether anybody ever 
enjoyed food more than Kilmer. The slender 
youth had become a decidedly stocky young man, 
who ate mammoth meals with prodigious satisfac- 
tion. He dehghted upon sitting down to breakfast 
to maintain, with almost savage earnestness (such 
was the amusing effect), that the most fitting dish 
for that meal was steak. As a matter of fact, how- 
ever, his habit was to miss his breakfast altogether 
through haste to catch his train, except for a cup of 
coffee and a piece of buttered toast which, when he 
missed the 'bus, he ate, a mouthful every dozen or 
so leaps, on his way down the hill (almost a moun- 
tain) to the station. Sundays, however, with the 
whole day at home, he apparently regarded among 
other things as a sort of barbecue. Looking over 
the morning table it was his custom to inquire with 
the air of a man making a fairly satisfactory begin- 
ning, what was scheduled for dinner. 

Kilmer never ate any limch, as the ordinary world 
understands the word — about the first hour of the 
afternoon he went (when his means had become 


such that he could afford it) to a sort of Thanksgir- 
ing or Christmas dinner every day. How proceed- 
ing directly to his office he did any work afterward, 
was always considerable of a mystery to me« And 
lunching alone he doubtless regarded as a misan- 
thropic perversion. His luncheons and his frequent 
dinners in town alone represented what many would 
regard as a rather arduous social life, which however 
arduous, however, never failed to include the weekly 
luncheon with his mother, Mrs. Kilbum-Kilmer. 
As an epilogue, so to say, to his meal it was his wont 
to have, speaking his order slowly so as to suck the 
full flavour of the idea, "a large black cigar." 

One time being in the city with his family for a 
period after the birth of one of his children, he gave 
a series of Sunday morning breakfasts at a fashion- 
able restaurant (it was a pleasant crotchet with him 
that he was "a fashionable young man") , entertain- 
ments which were distinguished by, first, the fact 
the guests so abundantly represented the world of 
journalism that they filled a good portion of the 
room, and, secondly, by the circumstance of their 
lingering at the board until mid-day diners began 
to arrive. 

How a poet could not be a glorious eater, it was 
one of Kilmer's whims to say, he could not see ; for 



the poet was happier than other men by reason of 
his acuter senses, and as his eyes delighted in the 
beauty of the world, so should his palate thrill with 
pleasure in the taste of the earth's bounteous yield 
for the sustenance of men. The romance, too, of 
the things we eat he felt lustily. 

Rich spices from the Orient, 
And fruit that knew Italian skies. 

He had another, and a decidedly quaint, notion of 
food. He firmly believed that hearty eating was an 
adequate physical compensation for loss of sleep. 
He was fond of declaring his faith in this fantastic 
idea by means of a story of some "ancient receptive 
child" (friend of his) who managed to bring up a 
family of seven (or so) children by ill-paid hack- 
work occupying most of the day and night-^a noble 
success due entirely to noble meals. 

This man has home and child and wife 

And battle set for every day. 
This man has God and love and life ; 

These stand, all else shall pass away. 

And "this man's" days were long, long days: 
Kilmer's home, a place of boundless week-end hos- 
pitality and almost equally boundless domesticity 


(guests being obliged to exercise much agility in 
clambering about toys with which the stairs were 
laden), was also year after year a place of almost 
unbelievable literary industry. The trying idiosyn- 
crasies of the artistic temperament were about as 
discernible in Kilmer as kleptomania. He was, as 
you may say, social and domestic in his habits of 
writitfg to an amazing degree. Night after night 
he would radiantly walk up and down the floor sing- 
ing a lullaby to one of his children whom he carried 
screaming in his arms while he dictated between 
vociferous sounds to his secretary or wife — ^his wife 
frequently driven by the drowsiness of two in the 
morning to take short naps with her head upon the 
typewriter while the Hterally tireless joumahst 
fiUed and lighted his pipe. 

This, however, was an atmosphere of cloistral se- 
clusion compared with Kilmer's office at the New 
York Times. Here, where he regularly got 
through each week enough hard work to hold down 
three or fom* fairly capable young men> he main- 
tained a sort of salon for a ludicrous variety of pic- 
turesque characters with nothing in particular to 
do and no place else to go, ranging from types of 
patrician leisure to stray dogs of the Kterary world 
visibly out of a job, 



The latter class, indeed, apparently regarded him 
as a kind of a clearing house for employment* A 
singularly convincing commentary on the radiating 
humanity of this brilliant young man was one rather 
grotesque f eatiu*e of his mail. In addition to a con- 
stant and copious stream of requests from persons 
but slightly known, or quite unknown to him, for 
advice as to how to succeed in letters, and for his 
personal imprimatur on their^ enclosed manuscripts, 
he was apparently constantly in receipt of innumer- 
able epistolary stories of extraordinary distress, suf- 
fered (generally) by elderly characters defeated in 
the hsts of literatm-e. Though there was in Kil- 
mer's robust nature a decided distaste, somewhat 
analogous to the innate aversion of the clean in 
spu-it to moral obhquity, for what he termed "inef- 
fLual people," thlls too «. «nmfag sixain of 
paternal feeling toward most of those of all ages 
with whom he was in contact. And this feeling he 
did not neglect, whenever the occasion arose, to 
translate into practical effect. 

He had a comical manner of terming his elders 
*Young" So-and-So. I was six years his senior, 
which at the period of life at which w;e met repre- 
sented a considerable difference in experience. 
And yet, throughout oiu: association, in spiritual 




force he was the oak, I the clinging vine. And I 
know of cases where this was quite as much so when 
the other man was something like fifteen years the 
elder. One such instance, ludicrous in its con- 
trast between the two men, was confessed to me with 
deep feeling just the other day. 

"So-long' or "good-bye'* was seldom Kilmer's 
parting word. It was rather a word he continually 
used which will be thought of as peculiarly his as 
long as his memory endures, the closing word of 
"Rouge Bouquet." The last time I saw him at his 
home, then at Larchmont Manor, New York, my 
companion (in marriage) and I upon leaving al- 
most missed our car, which started a block or so 
from the Kilmer house. As the three of us dashed 
after it, Kilmer stopped this car by what seemed to 
me something like sheer force of his willing it to 
stop. Then, as he dropped away from the race, 
there came from him high and clear out of the 
night (and always shall I hear it ring) his benedic- 
tion: "Farewell 1 Children/' Yes, it is even so; 
as the spirit is measured and the frailties of the soul 
are nimibered, how many who knew this wondrous 
boy were his "children" 1 

The wisdom of the maxim "A busy man is never 
too busy to do one thing more" was indisputable in 



the spectacle of Kilmer* Though this was not, so 
far as I recollect, a maxim he employed, he had one 
of his own something hke it, which admirably 
summed up his practical philosophy. When con- 
fronted by some financial dilemma, he was fond of 
declaring: "The demand creates iiie supply. A 
soimd economic principle/' He seemed to crave 
serious responsibilities and insistent obligations as 
some men crave liquor; and he grew more rosy as 
these increased. 

Thank Grod for the mighty tide of fears 

Against me always hurled 1 
Thank God for the bitter and ceaseless strife, 

And the sting of His chastening rodl 

There was nothing incongruous to Kilmer about the 
incongruity expressed in a communication written 
in 1916 to the Reverend Edward F. Garesche, 
S. J.; a letter which began by saying, "I am sorry 
that yom* letter of October 11 has been so long un- 
answered, but this has been the busiest month of my 
life" ; which then told of his looping the loop of the 
country in lecture engagements; proceeded to dis- 
cuss a matter which had made a strong appeal to his 
heart, the foimding of an Academy of Catholic 
Letters to be called the Marian Institute ; and con- 


eluded with the remark, ^'I will gladly take on the 
work of acting secretary until the members make 
their own selection/' 


In 1913, Kilmer's daughter Rose, nine mcmths of 
age, was stricken with infantile paralysis. It was 
then, upon his bringing his family to town to give 
his daughter the treatment of a specialist, when he 
came to my house to tell me of this, that I first dis- 
tinctly realised that this yoimg man was remarkable 
-in . nu«ner tar beyond mere talent. The ide. 
which he kept firmly before his mind was that it 
had been declared there was no occasion to fear her 
death as a result of her affliction. Diu*ing the course 
of his stay with me tiiat day he said several times, 
**Well, there are lots of people worse off than I 
am." This idea, too, it was apparent, he felt he 
must hold before him. And then, with his amazing 
and imconquerable flair for life, he launched upon 
the theme that this was a "very interesting disease," 
and he elaborated the thought that an infirmity of 
the body frequently resulted in an increased vitality 
of the mind. 

"I like to feel that I have always been a Catii- 



oEc/* was a sentiment frequently expressed by 
mer. It has repeatedly been declared by friends 
very close to him that his minute knowledge of pious 
customs and practices of which a life-long Catholic 
might easily be ignorant was a constant surprise to 
them, but that with respect to religion as particular- 
ised in himself he kept' silent, would never discuss 
the steps that led to his conversion, and it was only 
by chance they discovered he was a daily communi- 
cant. It was late in 1918 that Ealmer astonished 
the little world that then comprised his family, his 
friends and acquaintances by entering, with his 
wife, the Roman Catholic Church. One afternoon 
not long after this occurrence he not so much in- 
vited as directed me over the telephone to meet him 
that night for dinner at the Colimibia Club. His 
purpose soon became clear. This was the only 
solemn hour I ever spent with Kilmer. I think it 
well to record here what he deeply impressed upon 
me: that it was this searing test of his spirit which 
had come upon him in the affliction of his daughter 
that fixed his rehgion. 

Kilmer did not become a great patriot when his 
country entered the world war. He was, of course, 
the same in fibre then as before. Only then was 
known to him and visible to others what was latent 


in his heart. And in this sense it was, I think, that 
it was clear to him that he did not become, but had 
always been a Catholic, though he had not earlier 
realised it. He tried all things and held fast to that 
which he found good. He was inwardly driven to 
seek until his spirit found its home. That only the 
time of his conversion was, in a sense, accidental, 
and that the conversion itself was inevitable, must 
be evident in the fact that he was never really him- 
self before he became, as we say, a convert. Then 
his fluid spirituality, his yearning sense of religion, 
was stabilized. What is the "secret," as we say, of 
all that has been told of his ability? His courage, 
his mental and physical energy, were, manifestly, 
unusual. But his character, in the faith that he 
embraced, found its tempered spring. His talent 
was a winged seed which in the rich soil which had 
mothered so much art f oimd fructification. 

It is not an imsupported assertion to say that he 
was in his time and place the laiu*eate of the Catholic 
Church. His sentiments as to the function of a 
Catholic poet he has expressed very positively in 
his essays and lectures. He joyed in the new proof 
given by Helen Parry Eden "that piety and mirth 
may comfortably dwell together." "A convert to 
Catholicism," he wrote of Mr. Yeats on Lionel 



Johnson, "is not a person who wanders ahout weep- 
ing over autumn winds and dead leaves, mumbling 
Latin and sniffing incense." Nor is it necessary to 
lay aesthetic hands on the church's treasures, "and 
decorate rhymes with rich ecclesiastical imagery and 
the fragrant names of the saints.'' But in Faith 
one may find ''that piu*ity and strength which are 
the guarantees of immortahty." 

And, once a Catholic, there never was any possi- 
bility of mistaking Kilmer's point of view: in all 
matters of religion, art, economics and politics, as 
well as in all matters of faith and morals, his point 
of view was obviously and imhesitatingly Catholic. 
Considerable as were his gifts and skill as a poli- 
tician in the business of his career, the veriest zealot 
could not say that he did not do the most impolitic 
things in the service of his faith. A very positive 
figure, he laboured tirelessly, alternating from one 
field to another, for the Catholic Church. 

As a brilliant interpretative critic of Catholic 
writers, such as Crashaw, Patmore, Francis 
Thompson, Lionel Johnson and Belloc, he brought, 
I think I may venture to say, an altogether new 
touch into Catholic journalism in America, a strik- 
iQg and distinguished blend of "piety and mirth," 
which had the rare and highly effective quality of 


being both engaging and highly illuminating even 
to, as Kilmer would amiably have said, the Pagan. 
Impetus, of course, was given to his style in this by 
his admiration for the brilliant school of English 
Cathohc joumaUsts, an impetus doubtless accel- 
erated by the personal acquaintance with Belloc, the 
Chestertons and the Meynells he gained in a flying 
visit to England in 1914 to rescue his mother from 
war difficulties in London ; when, during a few odd 
moments before his return, he established a lively 
connection with the NorthcliflFe papers and T. P.'s 
Weekly. Even so, Kilmer almost, or quite, alone 
transplanted this particular spark; and his note of 
witty common sense and spiritual sensibility was 
particularly Kilmerian, too. 

One day about four years ago the viUage Post 
Office at Mahwah did a totally unprecedented and 
most extraordinary business in outgoing mail, and 
Kilmer was again multiplied manifold. The neat 
circulars which he had printed and with which he 
stuffed the mail box announced that the author of 
"Trees," a member of the staff of the New York 
Times^ etc., etc., "offered the following lectures for 
the coming season." The result may best be epi- 
tomised in the parable of the gentleman who cast 
his bread upon the waters to have it come back to 



him in the form of sardine sandwiches. The rapid 
development of Kilmer's lecture business, which 
soon assimied the proportions of no mean career in 
itself, immensely extended his force as a quicken- 
ing influence in the Catholic world. Before so- 
cieties and educational institutions in many places, 
frequently travelling as far as Notre Dame, In- 
diana, and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, he flung his 
bright portraits of "seekers after that real but elu- 
sive thing called beauty, a thing which they found 
in their submission to her who is jthe mother of aU 
learning, all cultiu*e, and all the arts, the Catholic 

As a hterary lectiu-er and a reader of his own 
poems before secular audiences his success was no 
less abundant. In "the only combination of its kind 
since Bill Nye and James Whitcomb Riley," as the 
circular of the J. B. Pond Lycemn Bureau stated 
it, "the young American Poet" and the author of 
"Pigs is Pigs" contributed considerably to the light- 
ening of the rigours of existence by an extended 
repetition of "a joint evening of readings from their 
works." Ellis Parker Butler, in a letter before me, 
writes of his partner on the programme: 


He was a most charming travelling companion 
and an ideal team-mate for the purpose we had in 
mind. I would not have thought of going "on tour" 
if I had not met Kilmer. My idea was never to 
"go on torn*" but, after I had met Kilmer, to "go on 
tour with Kilmer." He was altogether lovable and 

It would be a decidedly false estimate of Kilmer 
which failed to note, even with some emphasis, that 
he was an excellent man of business. He "played 
the game," in the exceedingly difficult job of earn- 
ing a thoroughly competent living at the literary 
profession, with a dexterity which, it was frequently 
apparent, was at once an inspiration and a despair 
to those who sought to rival him. The Kilmer cult 
which grew apace was considerably accelerated by a 
rich Kilmerian strategy. And he delivered to the 
little world of intensely intense literary societies and 
blue-nosed salons which hung upon his lips the pure 
milk of the word with a strongly humorous con- 
sciousness of the feat as a part of the immense sport 
of living. 

Kilmer's "act" as it was observed from behind the 
scenes is excellently presented by an associate in the 
office of the New York Times. This writer says in 
the Philadelphia Press: 



Our editor analysed him into three distinct 
manners: Kihner, the Uterary man; Kihner, the 
lecturer; and Kilmer, himself. His first appear- 
ance in the office would give you the cue to him for 
the day. If he came in grinning with his pipe draw- 
ing well, we would know that nothing was to be 
feared ; he was himself. When he got his "literary" 
manner on, the symptom was a tapping of his eye- 
glass, with his right hand on the fingers of his left. 
When he appeared in his cutaway coat and a partic- 
ularly pastoral necktie, we knew that on that day 
the elderly ladies of This Literary Club or the 
young ladies of That Academy were to be treated to 
a discom'se on certain aspects of Victorian verse. 

One day he came in, obviously decked out for a 
lecture. Without his having said a word about it, 
the assistant Sunday editor spoke up: "Let's cut 
out work this afternoon and hear Kilmer lecture." 
A look of horror overspread his face. "iF'or 
heaven's sake, don't," he said. "I couldn't go 
through with it." I don't beKeve any of us ever did 
hear him. 

A thing which I found very singular was that, in 
manner Kilmer was apt, in the two or three later 
years of his life, to give strangers on their first meet- 
ing the impression of being somewhat too dignified 
for so young a man, of being, as his office associate 
John Bunker in an admirable, even a remarkable, 


portrait of him at this period published in America, 
says, "in fact just a trifle pompous." Mr. Bunker 
continues : "This was due partly to his physical ap- 
pearance, and alsQ, insofar as it had any basis in 
reality, to that protective instinct which quickly 
teaches a sensitive and imaginative spirit to cast a 
veil between itself and the outer world." 

I myself think this effect had its origin in the 
same perverse instinct which causes you, immedi- 
ately after talking with a deaf person, to speak very 
loud to your next auditor whom you very well know 
can hear perfectly ; that is, it was the result of being 
keyed up to appearing on an elevated platform be- 
fore a curious throng. He one time astonished me 
by the declaration that it was only by, quite early in 
his life, drastically schooling himself to the task, 
one then exceedingly trying and hateful to him, that 
he became able to rise and "speak" at all. The most 
entertaining recollection, by the way, that I have of 
the Kilmerian pontifical manner is of a time when 
he generously invited me to have my shoes polished 
with him, thrust his hand deep into his pocket to pay 
the boy, paused, and with a verjf large gestiu*e 
directed him to call in again later in the day. 

There is first-rate perspicacity in the remark of 
one of Kilmer's friends, Laurence J. Gromme, that 



at one score and ten he was, in the amount that he 
had lived, about seventy years old. Something of 
the force and sharpness of Mr. Bunker's evocation 
of the man as he was at last resides, I think, in the 
circumstance that here is no blending in the mind of 
the flower and the bud. He says: **When I first 
met Kilmer he had just passed his thirtieth year, but 
he gave me the impression of being somewhat older. 
I afterwards spoke of this to him, and it was his 
theory that newspaper work had served to age him. 
The truth was that it was due not merely to his 
newspaper work, but generally to the incessant and 
intense mental activity, the extraordinary and flam- 
ing energy, whereby he crowded into ten years the 
experiences of several ordinary lifetimes." And 
this touch of the slight Bunker portrait is, I feel, 
essential to any fuller picture : 

As to his physical aspect, he was stockily built 
and about medivmi height, and his habit of body was 
what I should call plvmip, though later, imder the 
stress of military drill, he changed somewhat in this 
last respect. I noted at once that he had a remark- 
able head — ^well rounded, with broad and high f or- 
head and a very pronounced bulge at the back, cov- 
ered thickly with dark, reddish-brown hair. But his 
eyes were his most remarkable feature. They were 
of the imusual colour of red, and they had a most 



peculiar quality which Ijcan only inadequately sug- 
gest by saying that they literally glowed. It actu- 
ally seemed as if there were a fire behind them, not a 
leaping and blazing fire, but a steady and unquench- 
able flame which appeared to suffuse the whole eye- 
ball with a brooding light. This characteristic was 
so striking that I cannot help dilating on it. And 
I observed later on that this glow, this brooding and 
somewhat sombre light, never left his eyes even in 
his most weary or most care-free moments, so that 
they gave the impression of what I believe was the 
fact — ^the impression of a brain behind them which 
was working intensely and perhaps even feverishly 
every hour of the waking day. 

The better poet Kilmer became, as his friend 
Richardson Wright says in his admirable "Appre- 
ciation" in The BeUman, the less like a poet he 
acted. And after he grew up, he would about as 
soon have sestheticised, off the platform, as he would 
have forged a check. Whenever he did refer to 
poetry as related to himself he, as the slang term 
has it, took it smiling. One of Kilmer's most pro- 
noimced pet aversions was the phrase, utterly 
mawkish to him, about "prostituting" one's talent. 
He one time explained to me, with considerable ap- 
parent pride, that he used every idea three times : in 
a poem, in an article, and in a lecture. 



Charles WilKs Thompson, an editorial writer of 
the New York Times, and to whom belongs the 
credit of first taking, as editor of the Sunday Maga' 
Tine and Booh Rexnew, Kilmer's "stuflF" in any 
amomit, inspired, so to say, the poem '^DeHcates- 
sen," in this way. Mr. Thompson happened to re- 
mark to Kilmer that of course there were a lot of 
things which couldn't be treated in poetry. Kil- 
mer declared he would like to know what they were. 
Mr. Thompson cast about in his mind for the most 
ridiculous theme for a poem he could think of, and 
finally proclaimed that no one could possibly write 
a poem about such a thing as a delicatessen shop. 
"I'll write a poem about a delicatessen shop," Kil- 
mer promptly replied. "It will be a long poem. 
I'll sell it to a high-brow magazine. It will be much 
admired. And it will be a good poem." He in- 
sisted on betting on this the simi of several dollars. 

The origin of "The Twelve-Forty-Five" I do not 
exactly know. But I remember shortly before that 
poem was written, sitting disgusted and miserable 
with Kilmer in that horrible "Jersey City shed" 
waiting for the midnight train. Taking out of his 
mouth that villainously large, fifty-cent pipe (men- 
tioned in all genuine appreciations) Kilmer, with 
a fervour almost violent, suddenly exclaimed: "I 


certainly do like railroad stations! They are fine 
places 1" The very famous poem "The White 
Ships and The Red" (a poem so wonderfully eflFec- 
tive that it was at once reprinted all over the coun- 
try and in Europe) was a newspaper assignment. 
He rather liked the poem when he saw it in the 
paper ; though, with his feet cocked up on his desk, 
he spoke apologetically of what he felt to be the fail- 
ure of the latter stanzas to link up perfectly with the 
first, explaining that a luncheon appointment, at 
which he chatted for an hour or two, had split the 
writing of it into two sittings. That the author of 
this "Lusitania" poem thoroughly felt and meant 
what he said, is, I fancy, sufficiently proven by the 
event to permit of this being told. 

The point is, that Kilmer was a poet, an artist of 
a high order, a perfectly conscious master of what 
he was doing. The febrile gush of emotion he 
loathed. He knew finely that : 

It is stem work, it is perilous work, to thrust your 
hand in the sun 
And pull out a spark of immortal flame to warm 
the hearts of men. 

There was nothing accidental about the effect of his 
own verse, any more than there was "luck" in his 



worldly success. He achieved the one as he did the 
other by a masculine heart and mind. And while 
all things were necessary and joyous, it was impos- 
sible not to feel that, after all, throughout his day 
"the rhymei^'s honest trade" was his primary con- 

He was sufficiently grounded in literature to feel, 
as Mr. Le Gallienne says, no "weariness with those 
literary methods which had sufficed for Chaucer and 
Shakespeare and Milton, or Catullus or Bion, or 
Fran9ois Villon — content, with reverent ambition, 
to. tread that immortal path." 

In his religious mysticism a trace, and more than 
a trace, has been found of Crashaw, of Vaughan, of 
Herbert, and of Belloc and Chesterton. And there 
is no difficulty at all about finding in Kilmer hints 
of Patmore, and there may be easily recognised 
something of the accents of A. E. Housman and of 
Edwin Arlington Robinson. He did, indeed; to 
put it in a racy phrase, have the drop on those who 
do not know that all art that endures must have its 
roots in a constant interrogation of the "unimpeach- 
able testimony" of the ages. His song was as old 
as the hills, and as fresh as the morning. Precisely 
in this, in fact, is his remarkableness, his originality, 
as a contemporary poet; and in this will be, I think; 


his abiding quality. "Simple and direct, yet not 
without subtle magic/' wrote Father James J* 
Daly, Sjr., in a review of "Trees and Other 
Poems," printed in America, his verse "seems art- 
lessly naive, yet it possesses deep undercurrents of 
masculine and forceful thought; it is ethical in its 
seriousness, and yet as playful and light-hearted as 
sunlight and shadows under summer oaks." And 
this admirable summing up of Kilmer's talent 
leaves little more in the way of direct criticism to be 

Mr. Le Gallienne with felicitous tact of phrase 
has touched upon this, that "no young poet of our 
time has so reverently, on so many pages, in so 
many different ways, so playfully at times, as in 
that masterpiece of playful reverence, *A Blue 
Valentine,' woven through the texture of his song 
the love of his lady — ^that lady 'Aline,' whose name 
will be gently twined about his as long as the 
printed word endures." A misquotation in the 
Ladies^ Home Journal led to an interesting tribute 
to the author of "Trees." Many readers of the 
Journal were somewhat startled to find the editor 
attributing to John Masefield the lines : 

A tree that looks at Grod all day 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray. 



The following issue of the magazine contained tiiis 
correction and acknowledgment by Mr. Bok: 

I am free to confess that I did not know the cor- 
rect author. I had been reading John Masefield 
that morning and unconsciously wrote his name as 
the author of these lines. A nimiber of friends have 
pointed to the error and suppUed the knowledge. 
The author is Joyce Kihner, and to him I owe, and 
here express, my sense of deep apology. The ex- 
quisite lines were worthy of John Masefield, but 
that does not make them less worthy of their right- 
ful author, as all will agree who read his beautiful 
work in his book "Trees and Other Poems.** 

As one, somewhat effusive commentator has re- 
marked, "Trees" just could not be confined within 
the covers of a book. At once reprinted in news- 
papers throughout the United States (and stiU be- 
ing so reprinted) it was crowned in that warmest 
of all ways in which a work of ]iteratiu*e can be 
honoured, by being cut out by the world and pasted 
in its hat. In one version it reads, in part, in this 

Cuando contemplo im arbol pienso: nunca vere 
un poema tan bello y tan intenso. 

Un arbol silendoso que con ansia se af erra a la 
dulce y jugosa entrans de la tierra. 



Un arbol que mirando los cielos se extansia y en 
oracion levanta los brazos noche y dia. 

Many of Kilmer's poems have been translated into 
Spanish by Salomon de la Selva, Enriquez Urenia 
and others, and have appeared in a number of prom- 
inent South American papers. 

In a letter from France to Edward W. Cook, 
who in quest of material for a book on contempo- 
rary poets had written Kilmer asking several ques- 
tions, Kihner commented, among other things, on 
his ''earUer efforts in poetry'' (as the questionnaire 
apparently had put it), in a manner which is evi- 
dence again of how perfectly well he knew what he 
was about. "If what I nowadays write is consid- 
ered poetry," he announced, "then I became a poet 
in November, 1918." Admirable for hard-headed- 
ness, directness and precision, it is a statement 
which leaves the critic no point upon which to take 
issue. His early poems "were only the exercises of 
an amateur, imitations, useful only as technical 
training." The pecuKar thing about these highly 
skilful experiments in various forms of craftsman- 
ship is that they were so very much better as poems 
than the derivative efforts usually written at Uiis 
period of apprenticeship, "so free/' as Mr. Le Gal- 



notes, ''from those artistic immaturities which 
have made many old great poets angrily denounce 
unlicensed reprinters of their 'first editions/ " And 
in this fact they have a decided, and a perfectly le- 
gitimate, interest for the observer of the develop- 
ment of his talent — ^though Kilmer declared "they 
were worthless, that is, all of them which preceded 
a poem called 'Pennies,' which you will find in my 
book 'Trees and Other Poems/ '' He added, "I 
want all of my poems written before that to be for- 

He was writing, one remembers, to a gentleman 
with whom he was so slightly acquainted that he 
addressed him as "Dear Mr. Cook," with the meas- 
ure of whose sympathy and critical acumen, it is 
to be inferred, he was not conversant, and who pre- 
siunably was about to estimate (with what perspec- 
tive he could not perceive) his earliest productions. 
It were better to head off any imcertainty in the 
matter. Also, we all know, one's hot impatience 
with one's strivings of yesterday is meUowed by 
time into an amiable and appreciative tolerance of 
one's earnest efforts of twenty years ago. It is diffi- 
cult to think that Kilmer at fifty would have had an 
unjust scorn of those charming exercises on the 
poetic scales he wrote at twenty-one, 


Anyhow, no man can, by decree or otherwise, ob- 
literate his past ; boldi the good and the bad that he 
has done continue to pursue him. Ten times thrice 
happy is he, rarest of men, who, like Kilmer, never 
penned a line or said a word or did a deed that can 
arise tobring confusion to those that love him. The 
world does not willingly let die those verses on which 
glistens the dew of his tender youth. They are 
brought forth for praise by no mean critics in trib- 
ute to his memory. And in conformity with the 
wishes of those most jealous of his good name as a 
poet a representative selection of his earfy poems 
is reprinted in these volumes. 

He that lives by the pen shall perish by the pen, 
saith the wisdom of James Huneker. For a sapling 
poet, within a few short years and by the hard busi- 
ness of words, to attain to a secretary and a butler 
and a family of, at length, f oiu* children, is a modem 
Arabian Nights Tale. Equally impossible is it, 
seemingly, to accompUsh another thing, which is a 
remarkable part of Kilmer's distinction. From 
first to last, from the verses contributed to Moods in 
1909 to the last poem he wrote, "The Peacemaker," 
printed in the Saturday Evemng Post in October, 
1918, Kilmer was a poet's poet. "A pretty good 
poet," said such a poet (shaking his head at his con- 



viction of the truth of this) as Bliss CarmaiL His 
poems were repeatedly adjudged high places 
among tiie best poems read before the Poetry So- 
ciety. Among competitive honours, under the name 
of "John Langdon" he won easily enough with his 
poem, "The Annunciation," first prize in the 
Marian Poetry contest conducted by The Queen's 
Work, in July, 1917, an award competed for by a 
great number of poets, , including many in other 
coimtries. He was a poet's poet who declared (with 
considerable vehemence, I remember) that he cer- 
tainly wished he had written "Casey At The Bat." 
He one time said in praise of a book of essays that it 
was "that kind of glorified reporting which is 
poetry." As a singer of the simpler annals of hu- 
manity his place will draw closer and closer, I think, 
to that of the most widely loved poet of our own era. 
Only the name of James Whitcomb Riley expresses 
in greater measiu*e the rich gift of speaking with 
authentic song to the simplest hearts. A man who 
believes that churches are devices of the devil and 
literature a syrup for crack-brained females can en- 
joy, with profit to his soul, "The House With No- 
body In it," "Dave LiUy" and "The Servant Girl 
and the Grocer's Boy" equally with "The Old 
Swimmin'-Hole" and "Little Orphant Annie." 


If Colonel Roosevelt had never done anything 
other than what he has done in writing, he would 
undoubtedly be highly esteemed as an American 
man of letters. And people have made very cred- 
itable reputations as himiourists who never wrote 
anything Uke as humorous essays as those of Joyce 
Kilmer. They fairly reek with the joy of life. 
They explode with intellectual robustness. They 
are fragrant in fancy, richly erudite in substance, 
touch-and-go in manner, poetic in feeling, rocking 
with mirth, and display an extraordinary flair for 
style. If it should seem that I am not here meas- 
uring my words I suggest a reference to a piece of 
documentary evidence called "The Gentle Art of 
Christmas Giving," a "Simday story" in the New 
York Times, here reprinted. Writing at top-notch 
speed, never looking again at what he had written, 
intentionally producing a readily marketable com- 
modity, from which profit must be realised quickly, 
EHmer was an exceedingly rare bird in America; 
that is, a beUetristic journalist. There is always the 
touch to his work of a man of letters. Decidedly 
BeUocian, Chestertonian, certainly his humorous 
essays are. But that it was a^good deal more an 
affinity of mind with, than an imitation of, those 
splendidly humorous English philosophers is borne 




out by this : Joyce Kilmer did not talk poetry, but 
he did talk exactly like his essays, which admirably 
present the brave humorous wisdom of the man as 
his intimate friends knew him. 

Official critical authority did not dampen his 
verve. As a contributing editor of "Warner's 
Library bf the World's Best Literature," he sup- 
plied the articles on Madison Cawein, John Mase- 
field, William Vaughn Moody and Francis Thomp- 
son. He contributed prefaces to various volumes 
of standar(| authors. Excellent examples of this 
department of his activity are his Introduction to 
Thomas Hardy's "The Mayor of Casterbridge" in 
the Modem Library, his introduction to the Amer- 
ican edition of the "Verses" of Hilaire Belloc, and 
the introduction to the volume "Dreams and Im- 
ages," his anthology of Catholic poets. The Intro- 
duction to this Anthology is dated 165th Regiment, 
Camp Mills, Mineola, N. Y., August, 1917, just a 
year before Sergeant Kilmer's death in battle. 
Doubtless few know that at one time Kilmer had 
drawn a contract to write a "Life" of Father Tabb. 
Because of peculiar complications in the situation 
this enterprise, most unfortunately, fell through. 
In 1916 Kilmer was called to the faculty of the 
School of Journalism of New York University, in 


succession to Arthur Guiterman, to lecture on 
''Magazine and Newspaper Verse." The object of 
the course, which was open to outsiders as well as 
to those enrolled in the School of Journalism, was 
to familiarise the students with the practical side of 
writing verse for publication. 


It seems rather a misnomer, and something of 
an absurdity, to say that Kilmer was ever neutral 
in anything. But in the pohtical sense he was a 
neutral, and, if it may be put that way, neutral to 
a pronounced degree, preceding the entrance of the 
United States into the war. His keen feeling for 
the sturdy virtues and robust customs of Old Eng- 
land, Merrie England, was of course, patent. His 
delight in London, and the English countryside, 
which he knew from a child, was manifest. The 
pillars of his fairly large literature were, of course, 
English. His profound sense of integrity was vio- 
lently jolted by the violation of Belgium. As the 
war went on, however, he developed an attitude 
which was quite capable of being interpreted as 
Pro-German, by anyone interested in so interpret- 
ing it. The explanation of this attitude is simple 
enough. Instinctively a combative character intel- 



lectually, his humorous essays, which expressed him 
so intimately, ahnost without exception f oimd their 
spring in his running coimter to some current idea. 
As he one time remarked, he was "bored by femin- 
ism, futurism, free love ;" and, too, he was invari- 
ably for the under dog. It may seem rather gro- 
tesque to present Germany by implication as an 
under dog in the early years of the war ; the point is, 
the force of the argument was so overwhelmingly 
against Germany that Kilmer reacted to this in a 
characteristic fashion, stood boldly against the cur- 
rent, and was, in fact, a neutral — ^until the sinking 
of the Lusitania. All reports agree, including even 
reports from sources of strong anti-English feeling 
where Kilmer's inclination to see what could be said 
for Germany was coveted, that from this point on 
his manner was altogether hostile to Germany. 
Outside of his Lusitania poem he did not, so far as 
I know, denounce the deed ; but the unanimity and 
the precision with which the change in him is fixed 
by all who observed him is striking. 

Kilmer's successive literary passions were a curi- 
ous medley. He seemed to have been bom with a 
great love for Scott, and he held stoutly to Sir 
Walter throughout the years. In his burly days he 
foimd a humorous sport in defending, with jovial 


emphasis, tiie old-fashioned chivabous romance 
against the scientific modern novel. In his aesthetic 
period he had a touch, hardly more, of Oscar Wilde, 
though early in his literary career he experienced a 
rather severe case of Swinbumeitus. Some time 
shortly after this he was very much intrigued by the 
Celtic revival. Shaemas O'Sheel, a friend dating 
back to Columbia days, bears testimony that an 
early boast of Kilmer's was that an ancestor of his 
l»dLn longed for taking a rebel's part in 'ninety- 
eight. And though as we know, Kihner's imme- 
diate ancestry was not Irish, a GaeUc enthusiast 
who has made a specialty of the Irish language, sug* 
gests in his ardour, that the name Kilmer is a deriva- 
tion of Mac Gilla Mor. At any rate, an affection 
for Ireland — ^her literature, her lore, her traditions, 
and her people — ^was indeed natural with him. 

In his Yeats period Kilmer had about chosen 
"Nine Bean Rows" as the name of his house then in 
the course of construction, though it was not alto- 
gether "of clay and wattles made." The thing 
which deterred him from this decision was that per- 
sons unacquainted with the poem "Innisfree," to 
whom he spoke of the matter, conceived his address 
as Number Nine Beanrose Avenue. What a fimny 
street^ th^ said, that is. Literary merely, of 



course, that; and though a part of the whole, re- 
mote from later, deeper and graver things. Some- 
thing inherently Irish in Kihner undoubtedly was 
felt by many, Irish themselves and very much so, 
who, in some cases, are "quite certain" that the fact 
of their being Irish was the reason why he regarded 
them and their work as writers with friendship. 
He did, indeed, like all manner of Irish. He liked 
the Irish fairies, he liked Lady Gregory, he liked 
most decidedly the poor Irish people who went to 
the Catholic church, and (as he later showed), of 
all soldiers, Irish soldiers he liked best. 

Romantic Ireland is not old ; 

For years untold her youth will shine, 
Her heart is fed on Heavenly bread. 

The blood of martyrs is her wine. 

Everything chivalrous and sacrificial appealing 
to his deepest instincts, he felt noble "delight in 
hopes that were vain." It is not at all improbable 
that had he been an Irishman horn and resident in 
Ireland he would have been among the martyrs of 
Easter Week. In certain qualities of his soul a kin- 
ship with these spirits may readily be traced. 
Some of them, I have been told, he knew personally ; 
and his reverence for Plunkett he has written. 



There is no rope can strangle song, 
And not for long death takes his toll; 

No prison bars can dim the stars, 
Nor quicklime eat the living soul. 

And all that Kilmer wrote, every line of it, he wrote 
in two ways ; he wrote it in words, and he wrote it in 
his acts. When the idea of the Poets' Meeting to 
express the sympathy of American poets with the 
three Irish martyred poets of Easter Week, Pearse, 
MacDonough and Plunkett, first occmred to 
Eleanor Rogers Cox, she asked Kilmer's advice 
about it over the telephone. And he said, "Go 
ahead, I'll back you up," with the result that the 
meeting, a success, took place in Central Park, with 
Edwin Markham presiding, Kilmer, Margaret 
Widdemer, Miss Cox, Louis Untermeyer, and 
many other representative poets taking part. 

When you say of the making of ballads and songs 

that it is a woman's work. 
You forget all the fighting poets that have been in 

every land. 
There was Byron, who left all his lady-loves, to 

fight against the Turk, 
And David, the singing king of the Jews, who was 

bom with a sword in his hand. 




It was yesterday that Rupert Brooke went out to 

the Wars and died. 
And Sir PhiKp Sidney's lyric voice was as sweet as 

his arm was strong ; 
And Sir Walter Raleigh met the axe as a lover 

meets his bride, 
Because he carried in his soul the courage of his 


Indeed, in the logical scheme of things (or, at any 
rate, in Joyce Kilmer's scheme of things) the poet 
is a soldier, an idealist with the courage of his song ; 
and, in a manner of speaking, all soldiers are poets, 
whether or not they ever pen a line, for they give 
supreme expression to the conviction of their soul. 
And then, as Christopher Morley has finely written 
in his tribute to Kilmer, "the poet must go where 
the greatest songs are singing." To anyone who 
knew Kilmer it would have been perfectly dum- 
founding if, when war was declared between his 
country and Germany, he had not done exactly as 
he did. It is inconceivable — ^to picture hun moving 
about here, from restaurant to office, in this hour. 
Flatly, the thing can't be done. With him, when 
he joined the army, it was only one fight more, the 
best, and as it proved, the last. 

He hated many things, but I believe tliat of all 


things he hated most a pacifist — ^a pacifist in any- 
thing. He was a fighter. He fought for his home, 
stone by stone ; he fought for his renown. His con- 
ception of the church was the Church Militant. His 
thoughts dwblt continually on warrior-saints. He 
believed in the nobility of war and the warrior's call- 
ing, so long as the cause was holy, or believed to be 
holy. As he saw it, there was no question as to his 
duty. This I know, you might as well have asked 
Niagara Falls why it pours over its ledge, as have 
discussed with Kilmer the matter of his going to 
war. That was, in its way, just such another force 
of natiu'e. As to what might happen to him, it is 
hardly necessary to remark that his faith told him 
that that would be all right, too. John Bunker was 
among the last to bid him farewell. There is tlie 
Kilmerian splendour in what he wrote : 

You didn't pose, self-conscious of your lot. 

Or speak of what might be or might have been; 

You always thought heroics simply rot. 
And so you merely wore your old-time grin. 

Kilmer had first joined the Officers' Reserve 
Training corps. He soon resigned from this. In 
less than three weeks after the United States en- 
tered the war he enlisted as a private in the Seventh 



Regiment, National Guard, New York. His own 
statement was : "I haven't time for Plattsburg : had 
too much work to finish, but I had to get in." The 
Regiment was mustered into the Federal Service on 
July 15, 1917; and Kilmer expected to go to train- 
ing camp somewhere in the South for a couple of 
months, then to be sent to "France, or Russia, or 
Cuba, or Mexico or somewhere else." He had a 
great distaste for going to Russia, because he dis- 
liked cold climates. He one time expressed a de- 
cided aversion to a book commonly held to be quite 
good. When asked what was the matter with it, he 
dehoimced it as being about "one of those cold 
coimtries." It would not, of course, have t)een EjI- 
mer had he not found elation in t^e distinguished 
and picturesque character of the crack regiment to 
which he belonged. "We are the oldest outfit in the 
Guard — Lafayette reviewed us in 1824 and Joflfre 
two weeks ago." If you had not seen the dress uni- 
form of "the Seventh" you heard all about it at 
lunch. And "hard newspaper man" as he was, he 
became even "harder" now. "Can't hiui; my feel- 
ings," he wrote requesting a friend to be quite frank 
with him. "Hard military character, seriously con- 
sidering acquisition of habit of chewing tobacco." 
Shortly before the Seventh left New York for 



Spartanburg, South Carolina, Kilmer was trans- 
ferred, at his own request, to the 165th Infantry, 
U. S. A., formerly the famous old "Fighting Sixty- 
ninth," New York, a imit of the Rainbow Division, 
assembled at Camp Mills, Mineola, Long Island. 
He was most particular to impress upon his friends 
the point that he had been transferred at his own 
volition. I do not know that he ever said so, in so 
many words, but I gathered from him the impres- 
sion that a considerable part of his motive in having 
himself transferred was occasioned by his belief that 
the 165th would go sooner than the Seventh to the 
battlefield. Then, too, as we know, he was "half 
Irish"; and an Irish- American regiment doubtless 
was a powerful magnet to him. In the 165th the 
people he liked best of all were "the wild Irish boys 
who left Ireland a few years ago, some of them to 
escape threatened conscription, and travelled about 
the country in gangs, generally working on the rail- 
roads. They have delightful songs that have never 
been, written down, but sung in vagabonds' camps 
and country jails. I have got some of the songs 
down and hope to get more — 'The Boston Burglar' 
— 'Sitting in My Cell All Alone' — ^they are a fine, 
a veritable Irish-American folk-lore." 
Kilmer at this time was the father of four chil- 




dren, named respectively Kenton Sinclair, Rose, 
Deborah Clanton and Michael Barrjr. One day he 
appeared in my office on an errand of business re- 
lating to the handling of his literary property. He 
was, in outward eflFect, perfectly composed, an ad- 
mirable picture of a young soldier. It was tlien, in 
what followed, that he displayed the most extraor- 
dinary, the most amazing, measure of spiritual stat- 
ure that I ever observed in any man or ever read 
of in any himian book. Settled, with his customary 
air, in my chair, he demanded some pipe tobacco. 
I had none. And for this he heartily damned me 
out. Then he said: ''Bob, my affairs are somewhat 
in disarray." Thinking that perhaps he wanted to 
borrow two dollars, or something like that, I asked: 
"What's the matter, Joyce ?" "Well," he answered, 
quite in his ordinary way, "several days ago Rose 
died; yesterday my son, Christopher, was bom; 
Kenton is with my wife at her mother's ; my family 
is, m fact, very much scattered; I'm expecting to 
go to France within a few days — ^and I have many 
other difficulties." That was all he said as to this. 
He then talked excellent business. I went to the 
elevator with him. We shook hands more quietly 
ilian usual ; he said, "Good-bye, Bob ;" and the door 
of the car closed upon him, standing erect in his mil- 


itary overcoat, looking somewhat serious. That 
was all. 

From Company H. Kilmer was transferred, 
within a short time, to Headquarters Company, and 
exchanged his eight hours a day of violent physical 
exercise (''most deadening to the brain, a useful 
anodyne for one, coming as it did after my grief," 
he wrote in an intimate letter) for exacting but "in- 
teresting" statistical work. Though called Senior 
Regimental Statistician he continued to rank as a 
private. His work was under the direction of the 
Regimental Chaplain, Father Francis Patrick 
Duffy. He was thankful, he wrote from Mineola 
in a letter at this time, that he was not with the 
Seventh at Spartanburg, as from Mineola he could 
telephone to his wife every night, and he said: 'I'll 
be an accomplished cuss when I get back from the 
wars — I'll know how to typewrite and to serve Mass 
and to sing the 'Boston Burglar/ '' 


It was "the pleasantest war he had ever at- 
tended," so he wrote back from France. "Nice war, 
nice people, nice country, nice everything," he said 
on the back of a postcard. To the Reverend James 




J* Daly he wrote, "When I next visit Campion, 
I'll teach you (in addition to 'The Boston Burglar') 
an admirable song called 'Down in the Heart of 
the Gas-House District/ I sing it beautifully." 
And "as a common soldier, I have the privilege of 
intimacy with the French peasants — ^and I find 
them edifyingly good Catholics." But his pleas- 
ures in war he has told, as none but the author of 


"Trees" and "Main Street" could tell them, in his 
letters. What he never told must be read between 
the lines. When the war was over, he said, he never 
wanted again to go far away from Browne's Chop 
House and Shanley's Bar. Though it is firmly held 
in the background, there is in all that he wrote from 
France, it seems to me, a reflection that his life was, 
so to say, somewhat in disarray. And clearly 
enough, though proudly, too, in the few poems 
that he sent back he spoke his body's pain: 

Upon his will he binds a radiant chain, 

For Freedom's sake he is no longer free. 

It is his task, the slave of liberty. 
With his own blood to wipe away a stain. 
That pain may cease, he yields his flesh to pain, 

To banish war, he must a warrior be; 

He dwells in Night, eternal Dawn to see. 
And gladly dies, abimdant life to gain. 




My shoulders adie beneath my pack 
(Lie easier. Cross, upon His back) • 

I march with feet that bum and smart 
(Tread, Holy feet, upon my heart) . 

Men shout at me who may not speak 

(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy dieek). 

I may not lift a hand to clear 
My eyes of salty drops that sear. 

(Then shall my fickle soul forget 
Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?) 

My rifle hand is stiff and numb 

(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come)'. 

And in the closing lines of this poem certainly is 
given, as fully as anything can be told in this world, 
the answer to the question, How did the war most 
affect Joyce Kilmer? — 

Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me 
Than all the hosts of land and sea. 

So let me render back again 

This miUionth of Thy gift. Amen. 



Though he said, "I have very little chance to read 
contemporary poetry out here," he did read, as he 
says, "what do you suppose? The ^Oxford Book of 
English Verse/" And he hoped that contem- 
porary poetry was 

reflecting the virtues which are blossoming on the 
blood-soaked soil of this land — courage, and self- 
abnegation, and love, and faith — ^this last not faith 
in some abstract goodness, but faith which God 
Himself founded and still rules. France has turned 
to her ancient faith with more passionate devotion 
than she has shown for centuries. I believe that 
America is learning the same lesson from war, and 
is cleansing herself of cynicism and pessimism and 
materialism and the lust for novelty which has 
hampered our national development. I hope that 
our poets abeady see this tendency and rejoice in 
it— if they do not they are unworthy of their craft. 

"Just what effect the war would have had on Bal- 
mer had he been spared is of course an entirely elu- 
sive topic," has said one very able and on the whole 
most valuable commentator, speaking from the 
testimony then in hand, and voicing, I fancy, an 
idea still rather general. It is not now, I think, an 
elusive topic at all, but a matter as plain as a pike- 
staff. And the matter is, by the way, the second of 



the two most indispensable pages in Kilmer's story. 
It is a page in which his character imderwent an- 
other metamorphosis as consequential in its effect 
on his talent even, if that could be possible, as his 
conversion to the Catholic faith. 

Kilmer left the United States a professional 
writer from his twenty-third year, and one of the 
most accomplished, prolific and industrious jour- 
nalists of his day. Writing with him had become a 
habit almost as natural as speech. It was his inten- 
tion when he left New York to write a war book. 
He discussed this project with his publishers even 
so definitely as to have settled upon a title : "Here 
and There With the Fighting Sixty-Ninth." As 
time passed it became puzzling why no "copy" of 
any kind came from him. And as still more time 
passed this matter assimied for me an element of 
more than considerable mystery. It was incompre- 
hensible because none of the reasons which would 
ordinarily apply in such a situation explained Kil- 
mer's case to me. If it had been anyone else I 
should have concluded that he was unable to find 
time to write anything. But precisely the point 
about Kilmer was that he did the impossible : it was 
quite his habit to, in the racy phrase, "get away 
vith" situations which would have floored anyone 



else. It was to my mind an illogical hjrpothesis that 
he could be frustrated by obstacles. And I felt 
that, inexplicable as it was for Kilmer to fail in 
anything or to neglect any opportunity, he was 
here failing in justice to his career. How was it in 
fact? As it had always been. He was receiving the 
light opened to him. There could not be, I submit, 
any more telling proof that he had genius, the ca* 
pacity to become an absolutely great writer, thai^ 
this: that in this war which has prompted more peo- 
ple to write, and has produced more "copy" than 
nearly all the other events of history put together, 
he ceased altogether to be a journalist of any kind; 
that is, even the instinct of the journalist dropped 
from him, when he touched it. 

He had had no thought, he says, of attempting to 
report the war: "If I had, I'd have come over as a 
correspondent instead of as a soldier." All his days 
he had been trying to get closer and closer to the 
heart of life. In the war his profound instinct for 
humanity foimd fulfilment. Of his close comrades 
he writes: "Say a prayer for them all, they're brave 
men and good, and splendid company. Danger 
shared together and hardships mutually borne de- 
velops in us a sort of friendship I never knew in 
civilian life, a friendship clean of jealousy and 


gossip and envy and suspicion — a fine, hearty, roar- 
ing, mirthful sort of thing, like an open fire of whole 
pine-trees in a giant's castle." 

He was at present "a poet trying to be a soldier." 
"To tell the truth, I am not at all interested in writ- 
ing nowadays, except in so far as writing is the ex- 
pression of something beautiful. And I see daily 
and nightly the expression of beauty in action in- 
stead of words, and I find it more satisfactory." 
"My days of hack writing are over, for a time at 
least." Upon his return to civilian life his civilian 
work "may be straight reporting." As for "that 
mob of war writers (thank God — let me pharisaic- 
ally say — ^that I am not one of them) ." The book? 
"The only sort of book I care to write about the war 
is the sort people will read after the war is over — ^a* 
century after it is over!" 

Kiliner's "Holy Ireland," a sketch of a lodging 
for the night enjoyed by a Uttle group of Irish- 
American soldiers at a farmhouse in France, is the ' 
only piece of prose writing of any extent at all that 
came from him overseas. He himself wrote of it to 
his publishers: "I sent you a prose sketch *Holy 
Ireland,' which represents the best prose writing I 
can do nowadays." It is immistakably a piece of 
literature, that is to say, though slight enough in 



substance, a work of firm and exquisite and endur- 
ing art. 

In a letter to the Reverend Edward F. Garesche, 
S.J.9 one of the last he wrote, the following para- 
graphs occur: 

I have written very little — ^two prose sketches and 
two poems — since I left the States, but I have a 
rich store of memories. Not that what I write 
matters — I have discovered, since some unforget- 
table experiences, that writing is not the tremen- 
dously important thing I once considered it. You 
will find me less a bookman when you next see me, 
and more, I hope, a man. 

And he ends with these words : "Pray for me, my 
dear Father, that I may love God more and that I 
may be imceasingly conscious of Him — ^that is the 
greatest desire I have." 

Though he gloried in being a private soldier, it is 
quite evident, too, that he was charmed with his pro- 
motion. "I am now a sergeant,'' appears on the 
back of every copy of the well-known "tin-hat" 
post-card, and in every letter near this date. In 
more than one intimate letter he says: "I'll never be 
anything higher. To get a commission I'd have to 
go away for three months to school, and then 




.whether or not I was made an officer — ^I'd be sent to 
some outfit other than this, and I don't want to leave 
this crowd. I'd rather be a sergeant in the 69th 
than a lieutenant in any other regiment in the 
world." "A volunteer regiment, the bravest and 
best regiment in the army." "I have a new stripe 
— an inverted chevron of bright gold on the left cuflF 
for six months' service ... .let my children be 
proud of it." And, "a long moustache I have." 

For a while he had worked in the Adjutant's 
Office, having special charge of recording and re- 
porting statistics. Then he was no longer ("thank 
God I") doing statistics. Someone over here had 
said that he had "a bullet-proof job." "I had one, 
but succeeded, after two months intriguing, in get- 
ting rid of it," "At that time I was just an office 
Jhack — ^now I am a soldier, in the most fascinating 
branch of the service there is — sheer romance, night 
und day — especially night." He had become at- 
tached to the Regimental InteUigence Section, 
working as an observer — "very amusing work," 
"wonderful life!" — "the finest job in the army I" 
But "I don't know what I'll be able to do in civil- 
ian life — ^unless I become a fireman I" "I am hav- 
ing a delightful time, but it won't break my heart 
for tbe war to end." 




"Rouge Bouquet" was his "first attempt at versi- 
fication in a dug-out." He had lived in "billets, 
dug-outs, trenches, observatories and all sorts of 
queer places," And at length, he was "(after a 
most violent and amusing month) resting (six hours 
out of every twenty-four I) in a beautiful place, 
among the firs and pines on a lovely mountain top, 
from which I can see strange things." "I sleep on a 
couch made soft with deftly laid young spruce 
boughs and eat at a table set under good, kind 
trees." And with that inimitable, irrepressible and 
incomparable Kihnerian pleasure he contemplated 
what he called "my senility": 

I picture myself at sixty, with a long white 
moustache, a pale gray tweed suit, a very large 
panama hat, I can see my gnarled but beautifully 
groomed hands as they tremblingly pour out the 
glass of dry sherry which belongs to every old man's 
breakfast. I cannot think of myself at seventy or 
eighty — I grow hysterical with applause — I am 
lost in a delirium of massive ebony canes, golden 
snuff-boxes, and dainty silk hats. 

"When we first met over here," wrote Kilmer's 
friend Charles L. O'Donnell, Chaplain 332d In- 
fantry, in a letter to Thomas Walsh which should be 
written into the record, "he was in the personnel 


department of his regiment, having had his time 
of service in the field and done some particularly 
good work in the intelligence line. He was then 
about to go into the intelligence permanently and so 
avid of it was he as to be ready to relinquish his 
hard-earned sergeant's chevrons. In the event, 
however, that sacrifice was not demanded. After 
this change in his work he was much more agreeably 
placed, in particular he had more freedom and more 
time to see his friends. He was worshipped by the 
men about him. I have heard them speak with awe 
of his coolness and his nerve in scouting patrols in 
No Man's Land. As an intelligence man he made 
personally a few very valuable discoveries : this was 
when I was with him in our comparatively quiet 
sector. I can only conceive that he distinguished 
himself later in the larger opportunities that came 
his way." The letter continues: 

We were both in the army but he was also of it. 
I was amazed to find him so quickly become a sol- 
dier with the soldier's point of view. But he had 
seen so much more than I, even then, and each day 
in this war is equivalent to long campaigns of other 
times. I felt, and was a rookie beside him. He had 
got a perspective on his life at home that made him 
smile with indulgent pity on some literary aspects 



of it. I spoke of what must have been his earlier 
views, the good he was doing and the need of doing 
it. But he was not ready to relinquish a position he 
had bought at the price of suflFering, cold, hunger, 
fatigue, with the hourly self denials that military 
discipline means. Not that he spoke of these things 
in this way, but I knew they had gone into the crea- 
tion of his new stand and I knew hi my heart it was 
higher ground. 

A closer witness is Sergeant-Major Lemist 
^ Esler, who served side by side with Kilmer in the 
Marne advance. Shortly afterward returned to the 
United States for service as an instructor at an 
army cantonment, he said in an interview in the 
New York Times: "The front was his goal and no 
sooner had the regiment reached France than he 
made every possible effort to be transferred." 

He finally had himself moved to the Intelligence 
Department. It was in that department that he 
was elevated to the rank of Sergeant. I was supply 
sergeant at the time and Joyce Kilmer was a per- 
fect trial to me. He would always be doing more 
than his orders called for — ^that is, getting much 
nearer to the enemy^s positions than any officer 
would ever be inclined to send him. Night after 
night he would lie out in No Man's Land, crawling 
through barbed wires, in an effort to locate enemy 



positions, and enemy guns, and tearing his clothes 
to shreds. On the following day he would come to 
me for a new imiform. 

"There was something of what the Scots call *fey' 
about him as a soldier," is the testimony of the 
chaplain of the 165th Infantry, Father Duffy. 
"He was absolutely the coolest and most indifferent 
man in the face of danger I have ever seen. It was 
not for lack of love of life, for he enjoyed his life as 
a soldier — ^his only cross was distance from home. 
It was partly from his inborn courage and devotion 
-he would not stint his sacrifice-partly his deep 
and real belief that what God wills is best." 

Once Marshal Foch's advance began, Kilmer 
seems to have been constantly in the thick of the 
fighting. In the New York Evening Sun of Au- 
gust 8 a correspondent told how a party composed 
of Major Donovan, Joyce Kilmer and John Kayes 
advanced to the edge of a wood and captured a 
German dressed in an American imif orm. 

"Joyce was one of those soldiers who had a ro- 
mantic love of death in battle," Father Duffy has 
added, "and it could not have missed him in time." 
No, the stars move in their appointed courses ; and 
there are certain things written aforetime. While 



he had life there was a defiant hope among us who 
knew his great gift for triumph that somehow this 
would see him through, that even over the inevitable 
he would prevail. But Destiny would not have been 
her immemorial self had she stayed her tragic hand 
from this shining figure, type and symbol in his tak- 
ing of her unserutable ways with man. And, some- 
how, in his death his life was all of a piece, and one 
cannot but admire the poetic justice of his end. 

Never fear but in the skies 
Saints and angels stand 
Smiling with their holy eyes 
On this new-come band 

Your souls shall be where the heroes are 

And your memory shine like the morning-star. 

Sergeant Kilmer was killed in action near the 
Ourcq, July 30, 1918. "He had," runs the report 
in The Stars and Stripes, the newspaper of the 
American Expeditionary Force, "volunteered his 
services to the major of the foremost battalion be- 
cause his own battalion would not be in the lead that 
day." From the report of Sergeant Esler and a 
letter (printed in the New York Times) to a friend 
in New York by Alexander Woollcott, dramatic 


critic of the Times before his service abroad^ the 
facts are established. 

At the dawn of a misty Sunday, July 28, the 
165th had made a gallant and irresistible charge 
across the river and up the hill. In the height of 
the great five days battle for the mastery of the 
heights which followed Kilmer was killed. It so 
happened that he was close to the Major when the 
battalion adjutant fell and, in the emergency of the 
battle, without commission or appointment, he was 
serving as a sort of aid to the battalioil commander. 
Discovering that the woods ahead harboured some 
machine guns, he had reported this fact, and was 
sent in the lead of a patrol to establish their exact lo- 
cation. When a couple of hours later the battalion 
advanced into the woods to clear the spot of the en- 
emy, several of Kilmer's comrades caught sight of 
him lying, as if still scouting, with his eyes bent over 
a little ridge. So like his living self he was, they 
called to him, then ran up — ^to find him dead with a 
bullet through his brain. He lies buried, we read, 
beside Lieutenant Oliver Ames at the edge of a 
little copse that is known as the Wood of the 
Burned Bridge, so close to the purling Ourcq that, 
standing by the graveside, one could throw a pebble 
into its waters* Perhaps ten minutes walk ta the 



north lies the half obliterated village Seringes, cap- 
tured by American troops the night before Kilmer 
was killed. Eloquent of affection in the making of 
it, the grave is of course, marked by a wooden cross, 
on which is written, "Sergeant Joyce Kilmer/' 
Then, after the inscription of his company and regi- 
ment, is the Ime: "Killed in Action— July 30, 1918." 

It is not a rule to bury enlisted men with officers, 
but Kilmer had won so much admiration and re- 
spect not only from the enUsted men in his company 
but also from the officers, that the commander of 
the regiment authorised that his grave be dug on the 
spot and that he be buried next to the grave of the 
heroic Lieutenant who had just lost his life. 

Sergeant Woollcott was with the regiment in the 
woods the day they came out of the line to catch 
their breaths, and the news of Kilmer's death, he 
says, "greeted me on every turn. The Captain 
under whom he had been serving for several months, 
the Major at whose side he fell, stray cooks, dough- 
boys, runners — all shook their heads sorrowfully 
and talked among themselves of what a good soldier 
he had been and what an infinite pity it was that the 
bullet had had to single him out. And in such days 
as these, there are no platitudes of polite regret. 
When men, good men and close pals, are falling 
[98] V 


about you by hundreds, when every man in the regi- 
ment has come out of the fight the poorer for the 
loss of not one but many friends, there is no time 
to say pretty things about a man just because he 
exists no longer. Death is too common to distin- 
guish anyone. So the glowing praise and admira- 
tion I heard for Joyce was real — every word of it/' 
It is, I think, fitting to preserve in a form more 
diu*able than its newspaper publication more of this 
letter. It continues: 

I gathered that his stock among men of all ranks 
had been climbing steadily from the first days when 
many of them, including myself, felt that he was out 
of his own element in a rip-roaring. regiment. As 
the regiment's laureate, they all knew him and they 
knew, too, that he was at work on a history of the 
regiment. He had become quite an institution, with 
his arms full of maps as they used to be full of minor 
poetry, and his mouth full of that imperishable pipe. 

They all knew his verse. I found any number of 
men who had only to fish aroimd in their tattered 
blouses to bring out the copy of a poem Kilmer 
wrote in memory of some of their number who were 
killed by a shell in March. You see that there is a 
refrain which calls for bugle notes, and I am told 
that at the funeral services, where the lines were first 
read, the desperately sad notes of "Taps" sounded 
faintly from a distant grave when the refrain in- 



yoked them. The lines were read by Joyce's own 
beloved Father DuflFy, and those who were there 
told me the tears streamed down the face of every 
boy in the regiment. They just blubbered. 


Indeed, such was the power of his spirit over 
other men that even now he has become a legend, 
his excellence a popular heritage, benefiting and 
enriching human life. Writing with the pen of all 
those who knew him in his overcoat of glory and 
debonair hat, his friend Charles Willis Thompson 
says: "I had a great affection and a deep admira- 
tion and respect for him, different from that which 
I had for anybody else I knew/' And expressing, 
I think, the heart of innumerable ones who did not 
chance his way. Booth Tarkington says: "But I had 
a sense of him as of something fine and of fine 
promise. I haven't read much that he wrote; but 
it was like knowing that there was a good picture 
somewhere in a gallery that I hadn't visited, but 
might, some day." 

The full beauty of his life is known only to God. 
As religion was the first thing in his life let it be the 
last thing said of him. In one of his last letters, 
he wrote to Sister M. Emerentia of St. Joseph's 


College, Toronto, Ontario: "Pray that I may love 
God more. It seems to me that if I can learn to love 
God more passionately, more constantly, without 
distractions, that absolutely nothing else can matter. 
Except while we are in the trenches I receive Holy 
Communion every morning, so it ought to be all the 
easier for me to attain this object of my prayers. 
I got Faith, you know, by praying for it. I hope to 
get Love the same way." 







IN a wood they call the Rouge Bouquet 
There is a new-made grave to-day. 
Built by never a spade nor pick 
Yet covered with earth ten metres lliick* 
There lie many fighting men. 

Dead in their youthful prime. 
Never to laugh nor love again 

Nor taste the Summertime. 
For Death came flying through the air 
And stopped his flight at the dugout staiTy 
Touched his prey and left them there. 

Clay to clay. 
He hid their bodies stealthily 
In the soil of the land they fought to free 

And fled away. 
Now over the grave abrupt and clear 

Three volleys ring; 
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear 

The bugle sing: 
"Gro to sleep 1 
Gro to sleep 1 

Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell. 



Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor^ 
You will not need them any more. 
Danger's past; 
Now at last. 
Go to sleep r 

There is on earth no worthier grave , 
To hold the bodies of the brave 
Than this place of pain and pride 
Where they nobly fought and nobly died. 
Never fear but in the skies 
Saints and angels stand 
Smiling with their holy eyes 

On this new-come band. 
St. Michael's sword dartii through the air 
And touches the aureole on his hair 
As he sees them stand saluting there. 

His stalwart sons ; 
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill 
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still 

The Gael's blood nms. 
And up to Heaven's doorway floats, 

From the wood called Rouge Bouquet^ 
A delicate cloud of buglenotes 

That softly say: 


Farewell 1 

Comrades true, bom anew, peace to yout 

Your souls shall be where the heroes are 

And yoiu* memory shine like the morning-star. 

Brave and dear. 

Shield us here. 





UPON his will he binds a radiant chain. 
For Freedom's sake he is no longer free. 
It is his task, the slave of Liberty, 
With his own blood to wipe away a stain. 
That pain may cease, he yields his flesh to pain. 
To banish war, he must a warrior be. 
He dwells in Night, eternal Dawn to see. 
And gladly dies, abundant life to gain. 

What matters Death, if Freedom be not dead? 

No flags are fair, if Freedom's flag be furled. 
Who fights for Freedom, goes with joyful tread 

To meet the fires of Hell against him hurled, , 
And has for captain Him whose thorn-wreathed 

Smiles front the Cross upon a conquered world. 





Y shoulders ache beneath my pack 
(Lie easier. Cross, upon His back). 

I march with feet that biu*n and smart 
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart) . 

Men shout at me who may not speak 

(They scoiu*ged Thy back and smote Thy cheek) • 

I may not lift a hand to clear 
My eyes of salty drops that sear. 

( Then shall my fickle soul forget 
Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?) 

My rifle hand is stiff and numb 

(From Thy pierced pahn red rivers come) . 

Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me 
Than all the hosts of land and sea. 

So let me render back again 

This millionth of Thy gift. Amen. 





THE Sixty-ninth is on its way — ^France heard 
it long ago. 
And the Germans know we're coming, to give them 

blow for blow. 
We've taken on the contract, and when the job is 

We'll let them hear a Yankee cheer and an Irish 
ballad too. 

The Harp that once through Tara's Halls shall 

fill the air with song. 
And the Shamrock be cheered as the port is 

neared by our triumphant throng. 
With the Potsdam Palace on a truck and the 

Kaiser in a sack. 
New York will be seen one Irish green when the 

Sixty-ninth comes back. 

We brought back from the Border our Flag — 'twas 

never lost ; 
We left behind the land we love, the stormy sea we 



We heard the cry of Belgium, and France the free 
and fair. 

For where there's work for fighting-men, the Sixty- 
ninth is there. 

The Harp tiiat once through Tara's Halls shall 

fiU the air with song, 
And the Shamrock be cheered as the port is 

neared by oiu* triumphant throng. 
With the Potsdam Palace on a truck and the 

Kaiser in a sack. 
New York will be seen one Irish green when the 

Sixty-ninth comes back. 

The men who fought at Marye's Heights will aid us 

from the sky. 
They showed the world at Fredericksburg how Irish 

soldiers die. 
At Blackburn Ford they think of us, Atlanta and 

There are many silver rings on the old flagstaff but 

there's room for another one. 

The Harp that once through Tara's HaUs shall 

fill the air with song. 
And the Shamrock be cheered as the port is 

neared by our triumphant throng. 



With the Potsdam Palace on a truck and the 

Kaiser in a sack. 
New York will be seen one Irish green when the 

Sixty-ninth comes back. 

Grod rest our valiant leaders dead, whom we cannot 

They'll see the Fighting Irish are the Fighting 

Irish yet. 
While Ryan, Roe, and Corcoran on History's pages 

A wreath of laurel and shamrock waits the head of 


The Harp that once through Tara's Halls shall 

fill the air with song. 
And the Shamrock be cheered as the port is 

neared by oiu* triumphant throng. 
With the Potsdam Palace on a truck and the 

Kaiser in a sack. 
New York will be seen one Irish green when the 

Sixty-ninth comes back. 




MANY laughing ladies, leisurely and wise. 
Low rich voice, delicate gay cries, 
Tea in fragile china cups, ices, macaroons, 
Sheraton and Heppelwhite and old thin spoons. 
Rather dim paintings on very high walls, 
Windows showing lawns whereon the simlight falls. 
Pink and silver gardens and broad kind trees. 
And f oimtains scattering rainbows at the whim of 

a breeze. 
Fragrance, mirth and gentleness, a Summer day 
In a world that has forgotten everything but play. 




LED by a star, a golden star. 
The youngest star, an olden star, 
Here the kings and the shepherds are, 
Akneeling on the ground. 
What did they come to the inn to see? 
God in the Highest, and this is He, ^ 
A baby asleep on His mother's knee 
And with her kisses crowned. 

Now is the earth a dreary place, 

A troubled place, a weary place. 

Peace has hidden her lovely face 

And turned in tears away. 

Yet the sun, through the war-cloud, sees 

Babies asleep on their mother's knees. 

While there are love and home — ^and these—* 

There shall be Christmas Day. 





I LIKE to look at the blossomy track of the moon 
upon the sea, 
But it isn't half so fine a sight as Main Street used 

to be 
When it all was covered over with a couple of feet 

of snow. 
And over the crisp and radiant road the ringing 
sleighs would go. 

Now, Main Street bordered with autumn leaves, it 

was a pleasant thing. 
And its gutters were gay with dandelions early in 

the Spring; 
I like to think of it white with frost or dusty in the 

Because I think it is humaner than any other street. 

A city street that is busy and wide is ground by a 
thousand wheels, 

And a burden of traffic on its breast is all it ever 

It is dully conscious of weight and speed and of 
work that never ends. 

But it cannot be human like Main Street, and recog- 
nise its friends. 



There were only about a hundred teams on 
Street in a day. 

And twenty or thuiy people, I guess, and some chil- 
dren out to play. 

And there wasn't a wagon or buggy, or a man or a 
girl or a boy 

That Main Street didn't remember, and somehow 
seem to enjoy. 

The truck and the motor and trolley car and the 
elevated train 

They make the weary dty street reverberate with 

But there is yet an echo left deep down within my 

Of the music the Main Street cobblestones made be- 
neath a butcher's cart» 

Grod be thanked for the Milky Way that runs across 

the sky. 
That's the path that my feet would tread whenever 

I have to die. 
Some folks call it a Silver Sword, and some a Pearly 

But the only thing I think it is, is Main Street, 




(For Amelia Josephine Burr) 

THE road is wide and the stars are out and the 
breath of the night is sweet. 
And this is the time when wanderlust should seize 

upon my feet. 
But I'm glad to turn from the open road and the 

starlight on my face, 
And to leave the splendour of out-of-doors for a 
human dwelling place. 

I never have seen a vagabond who really liked to 

All up and down the streets of the world and not to 

have a home: 
The tramp who slept in your bam last night and 

left at break of day 
Will wander only until he finds another place to 


A gypsy-man will sleep in his cart with canvas over- 
Or else he'll go into his tent when it is time for bed. 


He'll sit on the grass and take his ease so long as 

the sun is high. 
But when it is dark he wants a roof to keep away 

the sky. 

If you call a gypsy a vagabond, I think you do him 
wrong, ' 

For he never goes a-travelling but he takes his home 

And the only reason a road is good, as every wan- 
derer knows. 

Is just because of the homes, the homes, the homes 
to which it goes. 

They say that life is a highway and its milestones 

are the years, 
And now and then there's a toll-gate where you 

buy your way with tears. 
It's a rough road and a steep road and it stretches 

broad and far, 
Bu,t at last it leads to a golden Town where golden 

Houses are. 




(For Thomas Augustine Daly) 

THE Judge's house has a splendid porch, with 
pillars and steps of stone. 
And the Judge has a lovely flowering hedge that 
came from across the seas ; 
In the Hales' garage you could put my house and 
everything I own, 
And the Hales have a lawn like an emerald and a 
row of poplar trees. 

Now I have only a little house, and only a little lot. 
And only a few square yards of lawn, with dande- 
lions starred; 
But when Winter comes. I have something there 
that the Judge and the Hales have not, 
'And it's better worth having than all their wealth 
— ^it's a snowman in the yard. 

The Judge's money brings architects to make his 
mansion fair ; 
The Hales have seven gardeners to make their 
roses grow ; 
The Judge can get his trees from Spain and France 
and everywhere. 
And raise his orchids under glass in the midst of 
all the snow. 


But I have something no architect or gardener ever 
A thing that is shaped by the busy touch of little 
mittened hands : 
And the Judge would give up his lonely estate, 
where the level snow is laid 
For the tiny house with the trampled yard,. the 
yard where the snowman stands. 

They say that after Adam and Eve were driven 
away in tears 
To toil and suffer their life-time through, be- 
cause of the sin they sinned, 
The Lord made Winter to punish them for half 
their exiled years. 
To chill their blood with the snow, and pierce 
their flesh with the icy wind. 

But we who inherit the primal curse, and labom* 
for our bread. 
Have yet, thank God, the gift of Home, though 
Eden's gate is barred: 
And through the Winter's crystal veil, Love's roses 
blossom red, 
For him who lives in a house that has a snowman 
in the yard. 




(For Aline) 

Right Reverend Bishop Valentinus, 
Sometime of Interamna, which is called Femit 
Now of the delightful Comi; of Heaven^ 
I respectfully salute you, 
I genuflect 
And I kiss your episcopal ring. 

It is not, Monsignore, 
The fragrant memory of your holy life. 
Nor that of your shining and joyous martyrdom. 
Which causes me now to address you. 
But since this is yoiu* august festival, Monsignore, 
It seems appropriate to me to state 
According to a venerable and agreeable custom, 
That I love a beautiful lady. 
Her eyes, Monsignore, 

Are so blue that they put lovely little blue reflec- 
On everything that she looks at. 
Such as a wall 
Or the moon 
Or my heart. 


It is like the light coming through blue stained glass, 

Yet not quite like it. 

For the blueness is not transparent. 

Only translucent. 

Her soul's light shines thrdugh, 

But her soul cannot be seen. 

It is something elusive, whimsical, tender, wanton^ 

infantile, wise 
And noble. 

She wears, Monsignore, a blue garment. 
Made in the manner of the Japanese. 
It is very blue— 

I think that her eyes have made it more blue. 
Sweetly staining it 
As the pressure of her body has graciously given it 

Loving her, Monsignore, 
I love all her attributes ; 
But I believe 

That even if I did not love her 
I would love the blueness of her eyes, 
And her blue garment, made in the manner of the 



I have never before troubled you with a requesl;# 



The saints whose ears I chiefly worry with my pleas 
are the most exquisite and maternal Brigid, 

Gallant Saint Stephen, who puts fire in my blood, 

And your brother bishop/my patron, 

The generous and jovial Saint Nicholas of Ban. 

But, of yovu* courtesy, Monsignore, ) 

Do me this f avom* : 

When you this morning make yoiur way 

To the Ivory Throne that bursts into bloom with 
roses because of her who sits upon it. 

When you come to pay yovu* devoir to Our Lady, 

I beg you, say to her : 

"Madame, a poor poet, one of your singing servants 
yet on earth. 

Has asked me to say that at this moment he is espe- 
cially grateful to you 

For wearing a blue gown." 




(For Aline) 

WHEN you shall die and to the sky 
Serenely, delicately go, 
Saint Peter, when he sees you there, 

Will clash his keys and say: 
"Now talk to her, Sir Christopher I 

And hurry, Michelangelo I 
She wants to play at building^ 
And youVe got to help her play I" 

Every architect will help erect 

A palace on a lawn of cloud. 
With rainbow beams and a sunset roof, 

And a level star-tiled floor ; 
And at your will you may use the skill 

Of this gay angelic crowd, 
When a house is made you wiU throw it down. 

And they'll build you twenty more. 

For Christopher Wren and these other men 

Who used to build on earth 
Will love to go to work again 

If they may work for you. 



"This porch," you'll say, "should go this way I'* 
And they'll Wprk for all they're worth, 

And they'll come to your palace every morning. 
And ask you what to do. 

And when night comes down on Heaven-town 

(If there should be night up there) 
You will choose the house you like the best 

Of all that you can see: 
And its walls will glow as you drowsily go 

To the bed up the golden stair. 
And I hope you'll be gentle enough to keep 

A room in your house for me. 





SERENE and beautiful and very wise, 
Most erudite in curious Grecian lore, 

You lay and read your learned books, and bore 
A weight of unshed tears and silent sighs. 
The song within yoiur heart could never rise 

Until love bade it spread its wings and soar. 

Nor could you look on Beauty's face before 
A poet's burning mouth had touched your eyes. 
Love is made out of ecstasy and wonder ; 

Love is a poignant and accustomed pain. 
It is a burst of Heaven-shaking thunder; 

It is a linnet's fluting after rain. 
Love's voice is through your song; above and under 

And in each note to echo and remain. 


Because Mankind is glad and brave and young, 
Full of gay flames that white and scarlet glow. 
All joys and passions that Mankind may know 

By you were nobly felt and nobly simg. 

Because Mankind's heart every day is wrung 
By Fate's wild hands that twist and tear it so, 
Therefore you echoed Man's undying woe, 

A harp Aeolian on Life's branches hung. 



tSo did the ghosts of toiling children hover 
About the piteous portals of your mind; 

your eyes, that looked on glory, could discover 
The angry scar to which the world was blind: 

And it was grief that made Mankind your lover. 
And it was grief that made you love Mankind* 


Before Christ left the Citadel of Light, 
To tread the dreadful way of human birth, 
His shadow sometimes fell upon the earth 

And those who saw it wept with joy and fright. 

''Thou art Apollo, than the sun more bright!'^ 
They cried. "Our music is of little worth. 
But thrill our blood with thy creative mirth. 

Thou god of song, thou lord of lyric might 1" 

O singing pilgrim ! who could love and follow 
Your lover Christ, through even love's despair. 

You knew within the cypress-darkened hollow 
The feet that on the mountain are so fair. 

For it was Christ that was your own Apollo, 
And thorns were in the laurel on your hair. 




(For Eleanor Rogers Cox) 

FOR blows on the fort of evil 
That never shows a breach. 
For terrible life-long races 

To a goal no foot can reach. 
For reckless leaps into darkness 

With hands outstretched to a star, 
There is jubilation in Heaven 
Where the great dead poets are. 

There is joy over disappointment 

And delight in hopes that were vain* 
Each poet is glad there was no cure 

To stop his lonely pain. 
For nothing keeps a poet 

In his high singing mood 
Like unappeasable hunger 

For unattainable food. 

So fools are glad of the folly 

That made them weep and sing. 
And Keats is thahkf ul for Fanny Brawne 

And Drummond for his king. 



They know that on flinty sorrow 

And failure and desire 
The steel of their souls was hammered 

To bring forth the lyric fire. 

Lord Byron and Shelley and Plunkett^ 

McDonough and Hunt and Pearse 
See now why their hatred of tyrants 

Was so insistently fierce. 
Is Freedom only a Will-o'-the-wisp 

To cheat a poet's eye? 
Be it phantom or f act, it's a noble cause 

In which to sing and to die! 

So not for the Rainbow taken 

And the magical White Bird snared 
The poets sing grateful carols 

In the place to which they have fared ; 
But for their lifetime's passion. 

The quest that was fruitless and long. 
They chorus their loud thanksgiving 

^0 the thorn-crowned Master of Song. 




(For Shaemas O'Sheel) 

ONE winter night a Devil came and sat upon 
my bed. 
His eyes were full of laughter for his heart was 
full of crime. 
**Why don't you take up fancy work, or embroi- 
dery?" he said, 
''For a needle is as manly a tool as a pen that 
makes a rhyme !" 
*Tou little ugly Devil," said I, "go back to 
For the idea you express I will not listen 
I have trouble enough with poetry and poverty as 
Without having to pay attention to orators like 

"When you say of the making of ballads and songs 
that it is woman's work 
Tou forget all the fighting poets that have been 
in every land. 
There was Byron, who left all his lady-loves to fight 
agfunst the Turk, 



And David, the Singing Eling of the Jews, who 
was bom with a sword in his hand. 
It was yesterday that Rupert Brooke went out to 
the Wars and died. 
And Sir PhiKp Sidney's lyric voice was as sweet 
as his arm was strong; 
And Sir Walter Raleigh met the axe as a lover 
meets his bride. 
Because he carried in his soul the courage of his 

''And there is no consolation so quickening to the 
As the warmth and whiteness that come from the 
lines of noble poetry. 
It is strong joy to read it when the wounds of the 
spirit smart. 
It puts the flame in a lonely breast where only 
ashes be. 
It is strong joy to read it, and to make it is a thing 
That exalts a man with a sacreder pride than any 
pride on earth. 
For it makes him kneel to a broken slave and set his 
foot on a king, 
And it shakes the walls of his little soul with the 
echo of Grod's mirth. 


**There was the |ioet Homer had the sorrow to be 
Yet a hundred people with good eyes would listen 
to him all night ; 
For they took great enjoyment in the heaven of his 
mind, ' 

And were glad when the old blind poet let them 
share his powers of sight. 
And there was Heine lying on his mattress all day 
He had no wealth, he had no friends, he had no 
joy at all. 
Except to pour his sorrow into little cups of song. 
And the world finds in them the magic wine that 
his broken heart let f alL 

"And these are only a couple of names from a list of 
a thousand score 
Who have put their glory on the world in poverty 
and pain. 
And the title of poet's a noble thing, worth living 
and dying for. 
Though all the devils oil earth and in Hell spit 
at me their disdain. 
It is stem work, it is perilous work, to thrust your 
hand in the sun 



And puU out a spark of immortal flame to warm 

the hearts of men : 
But Prometheus, torn by the claws and beaks whose 

task is never done. 
Would be tortured another eternity to go stealing 

fire again." 



(For the Rev. John J. Burke, C.S.P.) 

THERE was a murkier tinge in London's air 
As if the honest fog blushed black for shame. 
Fools sang of sin, for other fools' acclaim, 
And Milton's wreath was tossed to Baudelaire, 
'the flowers of evil blossomed everjrw^here. 
But in their midst a radiant lily came, 
Candescent, pure, a cup of living flame. 
Bloomed for a day, and left the earth more fair. 

And was it Charles, thy "fair and fatal Eling," 
Who bade thee welcome to the lovely land? 

Or did Lord David cease to harp and sing 
To take in his thine emulative hand? 

Or did Our Lady's smile shine forth, to bring 
Her lyric Ejiight within her dioir to stand? 




WHY didst thou carve thy speech laboriously. 
And match and blend thy words with 
curious art? 
For Song, one saith, is but a human heart 
Speaking aloud, undisciplined and free. 
Nay, Grod be praised. Who fixed thy task for theel 
Austere, ecstatic craftsman, set apart 
From all who traffic in Apollo's mart. 
On thy phrased paten shall the Splendour bet 

Now, carelessly we throw a rhyme to God, 
Singing BUs praise when other songs are done* 

But thou, who knewest paths Teresa trod. 
Losing tiiyself, what is it thou hast won? 

O bleeding feet, with peace and glory shod I 
O happy moth, tibat flew into the Sunt 




(For Richardson Little Wright) 

THERE was a gentle hostler 
(And blessed be his name!) 
He opened up the stable 

The night Our Lady came. 
Our Lady and Saint Joseph, 

He gave them food and bed. 
And Jesus Christ has given him 
' A glory round his head. 

So let the gate swing open 

However poor the yard^ 
Lest weary people visit you 

And find their passage barred; 
Unlatch the door at midnight 

And let your lantern's glow 
Shine out to guide the traveUef's feet 

To you across the sndw. 

There was a courteous hostler 
(He is in Heaven to-night) 

He held Our Lady's bridle 
And helped her to alight; 




He spread clean straw before her 
Whereon she might he down. 

And Jesus Christ has given him 
An everlasting crown. 

Unlock the door this evening 

And let your gate swing wide. 
Let all who ask for shelter 

Come speedily inside. 
What if your yard be narrow? 

What if your house be small? 
There is a Guest is coming 

Will glorify it all. 

There was a joyous hostler 

Who knelt on Christmas mom 
Beside the radiant manger 

Wherein his Lord was bom. 
His heart was full of laughter, 

His soul was full of bliss 
When Jesus, on His Mother's lap, 

Gave him His hand to kiss. 


Unbar your heart this evening 
And keep no stranger out. 

Take from your soul's great portal 
The barrier of doubt. 



To humble folk and weary 
Give hearty welcoming j 

Your breast shall be to-morrow 
The cradle of a King. 







(For Cecil Chesterton) 
T the foot of the Cross on Calvary 

Three soldiers sat and diced» 
And one of them was the Devil 
And he won the Robe of Christ. 

When the Devil comes in his proper form 
To the chamber where I dwell, 

I know him and make the Sign of the Cross 
Which drives him back to Hell. 

And when he comes like a friendly man 

And puts his hand in mine, 
The fervour in his voice is not 

From love or joy or wine. 

And when he comes like a woman. 

With lovely, smiling eyes, 
Black dreams float over his golden head 

Like a swarm of carrion flies. 

Now many a million tortured souls 

In his red halls there be : 
Why does he spend his subtle craft 

In hunting after me? 


^SjngSy queens and crested warriors 
Whose memory rings through timet 

These are his prey, and what to him 
Is this poor man of rhyme. 

That he, with such laborious skill, 
Should change from rdle to rdle. 

Should daily act so many a part 
To get my little soul? 

Oh, he can be the forest, 

And he can be the sun. 
Or a buttercup, or an hour of rest 

When the weary day is done. 

I saw him through a thousand veilsy 

And has not this sufficed? 
Now, must I look on the Devil robed 

lu the radiant Robe of Christ? 

He comes, and his face is sad and mild. 
With thorns his head is crowned ; 

There are great bleeding wounds in his feet. 
And in each hand a wound. 

How can I tell, who am a f ool^ 

If this be Christ or no? 
Those bleeding hands outstretched to me! 

Those eyes that love me sol 



I see the Robe — ^I look — ^I hope — • 

I fear — ^but there is one 
Who will direct my troubled mind; 

Christ's Mother knows her Son. 

O Mother of Grood Comisel, lend 

Intelligence to me I 
Encompass me with wisdom^ 

Thou Tower of Ivory I 

'^This is the Man of Lies/' she says, 
'T)isguised with fearful art : 

He has the wounded hands and f eet. 
But not the wounded heart.'^ 

Beside the Cross on Calvary 
She watched them as they diced. 

She saw the Devil join the game 
And win the Robe of Christ. 



(For the Rev. Edward F. Garesch^, SJ.y 

THERE was a Cttle maiden 
In blue and silver drest. 
She sang to Grod in Heaven 
And God within her breast. 

It flooded me with pleasure, 

It pierced me like a sword, 
When this young maiden sang: '^My soul 

Doth magnify the Lord/' 

The stars sing all together 

And hear the angels sing, 
But they said they had never heard 

So beautiful a thing. 

Saint Mary and Saint Joseph^ 

And Saint Elizabeth, 
Pray for us poets now 

And at the hour of death. 





(For Helen Parry Eden) 

**TT AIL Mary, full of grace," the Angel saith. 
XX Our Lady bows her head, and is ashamed ; 
She has a Bridegroom Who may not be named. 

Her mortal flesh bears Him Who conquers death. 

Now in the dust her spirit grovelleth ; 

Too bright a Sun before her eyes has flamed. 
Too fair a herald joy too high proclaimed, 

And human lips have trembled in God's breath. 

O Mother-Maid, thou art ashamed to cover 
With thy white self, whereon no stain can be. 

Thy God, Who came from Heaven to be thy Lover, 
Thy God, Who came from Heaven to dwell in 

About thy head celestial legions hover. 
Chanting the praise of thy humility. 




(For Katherine Br^gy) 

I WENT to gather roses and twine them in a 
For I would make a posy, a posy for the 'King. 
I got an hmidred roses, the loveliest there be. 
From the white rose vine and the pink rose bush and 
from the red rose tree. 

But when I took my posy and laid it at His feet 
I found He had His roses a million times more 

There was a scarlet blossom upon each foot and 

!Ajid a great pink rose bloomed from His side for 

the healing of the land. 

Now of this fair and awful King there is this marvel 

That He wears a crown of linkhd thorns instead 

of one of gold. 
Where there are thorns are roses, and I saw a line 

of red, 
A little wreath of roses around His radiant head. 



A red rose is His Sacred Hearty a white rose is His 

And His breath has turned the barren world to a 

rich and flowery place. 
He is the Rose of Sharon, His gardener am I, 
And I shall drink His fragrance in Heaven when 





(For Louise Imogen Guiney) 

THERE is a wall of flesh before the eyes 
Of John, who yet perceives and hails his 
It is Our Lady's painful bliss to bring 
Before mankind the Glory of the skies. 
Her cousin feels her womb's sweet burden rise 
And leap with joy, and she comes forth to sing. 
With trembling mouth, her words of welcoming. 
She knows her hidden Grod, and prophesies. 

Saint John, pray for us, weary souls that tarry 
Where life is withered by sin's deadly breath. 

Pray for us, whom the dogs of Satan harry. 
Saint John, Saint Anne, and Saint Elizabeth. 

And, Mother Mary, give us Christ to carry 
Within our hearts, that we may conquer death. 




(For S. M. E.) 

I TAKE my leave^ with sorrow, of Him I iove so 
I look my last upon His small and radiant prison- 
O happy lampi to serve Him with never ceasing 

happy flame I to tremble forever in His sight I 

1 leave the holy quiet for the loudly human train, 
And my heart that He has breathed upon is filled 

with lonely pain. 

King, O Friend, O Lover! What sorer grief 

can be 
In all the reddest depths of Hell than banishment 
from Thee? 


But from my window as I speed across the sleeping 

1 see the towns and villages wherein His houses 

Above the roofs I see a cross outlined against the 

night, , 
And I know that there my Lover dwells in His 

sacramental might. 


Dominions kneel before Him^ and Powers kiss 
His feet. 

Yet for me He keeps His weary watch in the tur- 
moil of the street : 

The King of £ings awaits me, wherever I may go, 

O who am I that He should deign to love and serve 
me so? 





(For John Bunker) 

THE roar of the world is in my ears. 
Thank God for the roar of the world I 
Thank Grod for the mighty tide of fears 
Against me always hm'ledl 

Thank Grod for the bitter and ceaseless strife. 
And the sting of His chastening rodl 

Thank Grod for the stress and the pain of lif e» 
And Oh, thank God for God! 




(For the Rev. Charles L. OT)oimell, CS.C.) 

THE garden of Girod is a radiant place^ . 
And every flower has a holy face: 
Our Lady like a lily bends above the cloudy sod, 
But Saint Michael is the thorn on the rose-bush of 

David is the song upon God's lips, 
And Our Lady is the goblet that He sips : 
And Gabriel's the breath of His command, 
But Saint Michael is the sword in Grod's right hand. 

The Ivory Tower is fair to see. 

And may her walls encompass me I 

But when the Devil comes with the thunder of his 

Saint Michael, show me how to fight! 





THE boom and blare of the big brass band is 
cheering to my heart 
And I like the smell of the trampled grass and 
elephants and hay. 
I take off my hat to the acrobat with his delicate, 
strong art, 
And the motley mirth of the chalk-faced clown 
drives all my care away. 

I wish I could feel as they must feel, these players 
brave and fair, 
Who nonchalantly juggle death before a staring 
It must be fine to walk a line of silver in the air 
And to cleave a himdred feet of space with a 
gestiu*e like a song. 

Sir Henry Irving never knew a keener, sweeter 
Than that which stirs the breast of him who 
turns his painted face 
To the circUng crowd who laugh aloud and clap 
hands with a will 
As a tribute to the clown who won the great 
wheel-barrow race. 


Now> one shall work in the living rock with a mallet 
and a knife, 
And another shall dance on a big white horse that 
canters round a ring, 
By another's hand shall colours stand in similitude 
of life ; 
And the hearts of the three shaU be moved by one 
mysterious high thing. 

For the sculptor and the acrobat and the painter 
, are the same. 
They know one hope, one fear, one pride, one 
sorrow and one mirth. 
And they take delight in the endless fight for the 
fickle world's acclaim; 
For they worship art above the clouds and serve 
]ber on the earth. 

But you, who can build of the stubborn rock no 
form of loveliness. 
Who can never mingle the radiant hues to make 
a wonder live. 
Who can only show your little woe to the world in a 
rhythmic dress— 
What kind of a coimterpart of you does the three- 
ring circus give? 



Well — here in a little side-show tent to-day some 
people stand. 
One is a giant, one a dwarf, and one has a figured 
And each is scarred and seared and marred by 
Fate's relentless hand. 
And each one shows his grief for pay^ with a sort 
of pride therein. 

You put your sorrow into rhyme and want the 
world to look ; 
You sing the news of your ruined hope and want 
the world to hear; 
Their woe is pent in a canvas tent and yours in a 
printed book. 
O, poet of the broken heart, salute your brothers 
here ! 




(For My Mother) 

THE fragile splendour of the level sea^ 
The moon's serene and silver-veiled face, 
Mike of this vessel an enchanted place 
Full of white mirth and golden sorcery. 
Now, for a time, shall careless laughter he 
Blended with song, to lend song sweeter grace. 
And the old stars, in their unending race, 
ShaU heed and envy young humanity. 

And yet to-night, a hundred leagues away, 
These waters hlush a strange and awful red. 

Before the moon, a cloud obscenely grey 
Rises from decks that crash with flying lead. 

And these stars smile their immemorial way 
On waves that shroud a thousand newly dead I 




MY hands were stained with blood, my heart 
was proud and cold, 
My soul is black with shame . . . but I gave 

Shakespeare gold. 
So after aeons of flame, I may, by grace of God, 
Rise up to kiss the dust that Shakespeare's feet have 




IN alien earth, across a troubled sea, 
His body lies that wias so fair and young. 
His mouth is stopped, with half his songs unsung; 
His arm is still, that struck to make men free. 
But let no cloud of lamentation be 
Where, on a warrior's grave, a lyre is hung. 
Wei keep the echoes of his golden tongue^ 
We keep the vision of his chivalry. 

So Israel's joy, the loveliest of kings. 
Smote now his harp, and now the hostile horde. 

To-day the starry roof of Heaven rings 
With psalms a soldier made to praise his Lord; 

And David rests beneath Eternal wings. 
Song on his lips, and in his hand a sword. 



(For My Mother) 

THE halls that were loud with the merry tread 
of young and careless feet 
Are still with a stillness that is too drear to seem 
like holiday. 
And never a gust of laughter breaks the calm of the 
dreaming street 
Or rises to shake the ivied walls and frighten the 
doves away. 

The dust is on book and on empty desk, and the 
tennis-racquet and balls 
Lie still in their lonely locker and wait for a game 
that is never played. 
And over the study and lecture-room and the river 
and meadow falls 
A stem peace, a strange peace, a peace that War 
has made. 

For many a youthful shoulder now is gay with an 

And the hand that was deft with a cricket-bat is 

defter with a sword, 


And some of the lads will laugh to-day where the 
trench is red and wet, 
Sind some will win on the bloody field the ac- 
colade of the LfOrd. 

They have taken their youth and mirth away from 
the study and playing-ground 
To a new school in an alien land beneath an alien 
Out in the smoke and roar of the fight their lessons 
and games are found, 
And they who were learning how to live are learn- 
ing how \o die. 

And after the golden day has come and the war is 
at an end, 
A slab of bronze on the chapel wall will tell of 
the noble dead. \ 
And every name on that radiant list will be the 
name of a friend, 
A name that shall through the centuries in grate- 
ful prayers be said. 

And there will be ghosts in the old school, brave 
ghosts with laughing eyes. 
On the field with a ghostly cricket-bat, by the 
stream with a ghostly rod; 



They wiD touch the hearts of the living with a flame 
that sanctifies, 
A flame that they took with strong yomig hands 
from the altar-fires of Grod. 


- --■ ■ 



(In memory of Joseph Mary Plmikett) 

{^^Bomantic Irelanffs dead and gone, 
Ifs toith (yLeary in the grave.^) 

WnxiAM Butler Yeatb. 

"^Ty OMANTIC Ireland's dead and gone, 

Xv It's with O'Leary in the grave/' 
Then, Yeats, what gave that Easter dawn 
A hue so radiantly brave? 

There was a rain of blood that day. 
Red rain in gay blue April weather. 

It blessed the earth tiU it gave birth 
To valour thick as blooms of heather. 

Romantic Ireland never dies I 

O'Leary lies in fertile ground. 
And songs and spears throughout the years 

Rise up where patriot graves are found. 

Immortal patriots newly dead 
And ye that bled in bygone years. 

What banners rise before your eyes? 
What is the tune that greets your ears? 



The young Republic's banners smile 
For many a mile where troops convene. 

O'Connell Street is loudly sweet 
With strains of Wearing of the Green. 

The soil of Ireland throbs and glows 
With life that knows the hour is here 

To strike again like Irishmen 
For that which Irishmen hold dear. 

Lord Edward leaves his resting place 
And Sarsfield's face is glad and fierce. 

See Emmet leap from troubled sleep 
To grasp the hand of Padraic Pearset 

There is no rope can strangle song 
And not for long death takes his toll. 

No prison bars can dim the stars 
Nor quicklime eat the living souL 

Romantic Ireland is not old. 

For years untold her youth will shine. 
Her heart is fed on Heavenly bread. 

The blood of martyrs is her wine* 




(From the French of Emile Verhaeren) 

HE who walks through the meadows of Cham- 

At noon in Fall, when leaves like gold appear. 

Sees it draw near 
Like some great moimtain set upon the plain. 
From radiant dawn until the close of day. 

Nearer it grows 

To him who goes 
Across the country. When tall towers lay 

Their shadowy paU 

Upon his way. 

He enters, where 
The solid stone is hollowed deep by all 
Its centuries of beauty and of prayer. 

Ancient French temple I thou whose hundred kings 
Watch over thee, emblazoned on thy walls. 
Tell me, within thy memory-hallowed halls 
What chant of triumph, or what war-song rings? 
Thou hast known Clovis and his Frankish train. 
Whose mighty hand Saint Remy's hand did keep 
And in thy spacious vault perhaps may sleep 
An echo of the voice of Charlemagne. 



For God thou hast known fear, when from His side 
Men wandered, seeking alien shrines and new. 
But still the sky was bountiful and blue 
And thou wast crowned with France's love and 

Sacred thou art, from pinnacle to base ; 
And in thy panes of gold and scarlet glass 
The setting suh sees thousandfold his face; 
Sorrow and joy, in stately silence pass 
Across thy walls, the shadow and the light; 
Aroimd thy lofty pillars, tapers white 
Illuminate, with delicate sharp flames. 
The brows of saints with venerable names. 
And in the night erect a fiery wall. 
A great but sLt (eryour iL. in <dl 
Those simple folk who kneel, pathetic, dumb. 
And know that down below, beside the Rhine- 
Cannon, horses, soldiers, flags in line — 
With blare of trumpets, mighty armies come. 

Suddenly, each knows fear ; 

Swift rumours pass, that every one must hear. 

The hostile banners blaze against the sky 

And by the embassies mobs rage and cry. 

Now war has come, and peace is at an end. 

On Paris town the Grerman troops descend. 



They are turned back, and driven to Champagne* 
And now, as to so many weary men, 
The glorious temple gives them welcome, when 
It meets them at the bottom of the plain. 

At once, they set their cannon in its way. 

There is no gable now, nor wall 
That does not suffer, night and day. 

As shot and shell in crushing torrents fall. 
The stricken tocsin quivers through the tower; 

The triple nave, the apse, the lonely choir 
Are circled, hour by hour. 

With thundering bands of fire 
And Death is scattered broadcast among men. 

And then 

That which was splendid with baptismal grace; 

The stately arches soaring into space. 

The transepts, columns, windows gray and gold, 

The organ, in whose tones the ocean rolled. 

The crypts, of mighty shades the dwelling places. 

The Virgin's gentle hands, the Saints' pure faces. 

All, even the pardoning hands of Christ the Lord 

^Were struck and broken by the wanton sword 

Of sacrilegious lust. 

O beauty slain, O glory in the dusti 



Strong walls of faith, most basely overthrown! 
The crawling flames, like adders glistening 
Ate the white fabric of this lovely thing. 
Now from its soul arose a piteous moan. 
The soul that always loved the just and fair. 
Granite and marble loud their woe confessed, 
The silver monstrances that Popes had blessed. 
The chalices and lamps and crosiers rare 
Were seared and twisted by a flaming breath ; 
The horror everywhere did range and swell. 
The guardian Saints into this furnace fell. 
Their bitter tears and screams were stilled in death. 

Around the flames armed hosts are skirmishing. 
The burning sun reflects the lurid scene ; 
The Grerman army, fighting for its life. 
Rallies its torn and terrified left wing; 

And, as they near this place 

The imperial eagles see 

Before them in their flight. 
Here, in the solemn night. 
The old cathedral, to the years to be 

Showing, with wounded arms, their own disgrace. 



(For the Rev. James B. DoUard) 

THE Kings of the earth are men of might. 
And cities are burned for their delight. 
And the skies rain death in the silent night, 
And the hills belch death all day I 

But the King of Heaven, Who made them all. 
Is fair and gentle, and very small; 
He lies in the straw, by the oxen's stall — 
Let them think of Him to-day! 




(For Alden March) 

WITH drooping sail and pennant 
That never a wind may reach. 
They float in sunless waters 

Beside a sunless beach. 
Their mighty masts and funnels 

Are white as driven snow. 
And with a pallid radiance 
Their ghostly bulwarks glow. 

Here is a Spanish galleon 

That once with gold was gay. 
Here is a Roman trireme 

Whose hues outshone the day. 
But Tyrian dyes have faded, 

And prows that once were bright 
With rainbow stains wear only 

Death's livid, dreadful white. 

White as the ice that clove her 

That unf orgotten day. 
Among her pallid sisters 

The grim Titanic lay. 


And through the leagues above her 

She looked aghast, and said: 
''What is this living ship that comes 

Where everjr ship is dead?" 

The ghostly vessels trembled 

From ruined stem to prow; 
What was this thing of terror 

That broke their vigil now? 
Down through the startled ocean 

A mighty vessel came, 
Not white, as all dead ships must be. 

But red, like living flame 1 

The pale green waves about her 

Were swiftly, strangely dyed. 
By the great scarlet stream that flowed 

From out her woimded side. 
And all her decks were scarlet 

And all her shattered crew. 
She sank among the white ghost ships 

And stained them through and through. 

The grim Titanic greeted her. 

''And who art thou?" she said; 
''Why dost thou join our ghostly fleet 

Arrayed in living red? 



We are the ships of sorrow 
Who spend the weary night. 

Until the dawn of Judgment Day, 
Obscure and still and white.'' 

'^ay/' said the scarlet visitor, 

''Though I sink through the sea, 
A ruined thing that was a ship, 

I sink not as did ye. 
For ye met with your destiny 

By storm or rock or fight. 
So through the lagging centuries 

Ye wear your robes of white. 

''But never crashing iceberg 

Nor honest shot of foe. 
Nor hidden reef has sent me 

The way that I must go. 
My wound that stains the waters. 

My blood that is like flame. 
Bear witness to a loathly deed, 

A deed without a name. 

"I went not forth to battle, 

I carried friendly men. 
The children played about my decks. 
The women sang — ^and then — 


And then — ^the sun blushed scarlet 

And Heaven hid its f ace. 
The world that God created 

Became a shameful place! 

"My wrong cries out for vengeance. 

The blow that sent me here 
Was aimed in Hell. My dyin^scream 

Has reached Jehovah's ear. 
Not all the seven oceans 

Shall wash away that stain ; 
Upon a brow that wears a crown 

I am the brand of Cain.'' 

When God's great voice assembles 

The fleet on Judgment Day, 
The ghosts of ruined ships wiU rise 

In sea and strait and bay. 
Though they have lain for ages 

Beneath the changeless flood. 
They shall be white as silver. 

But one — shall be like blood. 




(For Edward J. Wheeler) 

WITHIN the Jersey City shed 
The engine coughs and shakes its head. 
The smoke, a plume of red and white, 
Waveslmadly in the face of night. 
And now the grave incurious stars / 
Gleam on the groaning hurrying cars. 
Against the kind and awful reign 
Of darkness, this our angry train, 
A noisy little rebel, pouts 
Its brief defiance, flames and shouts — 
And passes on, and leaves no trace. 
For darkness holds its ancient place, 
Serene and absolute, the king 
Unchanged, of every living thing. 
The houses lie obscure and still 
In Rutherford and Carlton Hill. 
Our lamps intensify the dark 
Of slumbering Passaic Park. 
And quiet holds the weary feet 
That daily tramp through Prospect Street. 
What though we clang and clank and roar 
Through all Passaic's streets ? No door 



Will open, not an eye will see 

Who this loud vagabond may be. 

Upon my crimson cushioned seat. 

In manufactured light and heat» 

I feel imnatural and mean. 

Outside the towns are cool and clean; 

Curtained awhile from sound and sight 

They take Grod*s gracious gift of night. 

The stars are watchful over them. 

On Chfton as on Bethlehem 

The angels, leaning down the sky, 

Shed peace and gentle dreams. And I — 

I ride, I blasphemously ride 

Through all the silent countryside. 

The engine's shriek, the headlight's glare» 

Pollute the still nocturnal air. 

The cottages of Lake View sigh 

And sleeping, frown as we pass by. 

Why, even strident Paterson 

Rests quietly as any nun. 

Her f ooUsh warring children keep 

The grateful armistice of sleep. 

For what tremendous errand's sake 

Are we so blatantly awake? 

What precious secret is our freight? 

What. king must be abroad so late? 



Perhaps Death roams the hills to-night 
And we rush forth to give him fight. 
Or else» perhaps, we speed his way 
To some remote unthinking prey* 
Perhaps a woman writhes in pain 
And listens — ^listens for the train I 
The train, that like an angel sings. 
The train, with healing on its wings. 
Now "Hawthorne 1" the conductor cries. 
My neighbor starts and rubs his eyes. 
He hurries yawning through the car 
And steps out where the houses are. 
This is the reason of our questi 
Not wantonly we break the rest 
Of town and village, nor do we 
Lightly profane night's sanctity. 
What Love commands the train fulfills^ 
And beautiful upon the hills 
Are these our feet of burnished steeL 
Subtly and certainly I feel 
That Glen Rock welcomes us to her 
And silent Ridgewood seems to stir 
And smile, because she knows the train 
Has brought her children back again. 
We carry people home — ^and so 
God speeds us, wheresoever we go. 


Hohokus, Waldwick, Allendale 

Lift sleepy heads to give us hail. 

In Ramsey, Mahwah, Suffem stand 

Houses that wistfully demand 

A father — ^son — some hiunan thing 

That this, the midnight train, may bring. 

The trains that traveFin the day 

They hurry folks to work or play. 

The midnight train is slow and old» 

But of it let this thing be told. 

To its high honor be it said. 

It carries people home to bed. 

My cottage lamp shines white and clear. 

Grod bless the train that brought me here. 




A FEW long-hoarded pennies in his hand^ 
Behold him stand ; 
A kilted Hedonist, perplexed and sad. 
The joy that once he had, 
The first delight of ownership is fled. 
He bows his little head. 
Ah, cruel Time, to kill 
That splendid thrill! 

Then in his tear-dimmed eyes 

New lights arise. 

He drops his treasm^ed pennies on the ground^ 

They roll and bound 

And scattered, rest. 

Now with what zest 

He runs to find his errant wealth againi 

So unto men 

Doth God, depriving that He may bestow. 
Fame, health and money go. 
But that they may, new found, be newly sweet. 
Yea, at His feet 

Sit, waiting us, to their conceahnent bid, 
AJl they, our lovers, whom His Love hath hid. 


Lo» comfort blooms on paJn, and peace on strif e» 

And gain on loss. 
What is the key to Everlasting Life? 

A blood-stained Cross. 





(For Mrs. Henry Mills Alden) 

THINK that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree. 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast; 

A tree that looks at God all day. 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray ; 

A tree that may in Summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair ; 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain. 

Poems are made by fools like me. 
But only God can make a tree. 



(For the Rev. James J. Daly; S J*.) 

BRIGHT stars, yellow stars, flashing through 
the air, ' 

Are you errant strands of Lady Mary's hair? 
As she slits the cloudy veil and bends down through. 
Do you fall across her cheeks and over heaven too? 

Gay stars, little stars, you are little eyes. 
Eyes of baby angels playing in the skies. 
Now and then a winged child turns his merry face 
Down toward the spinning world — ^whata funny 
place I 

Jesus Christ came from the Cross (Christ receive 

my soull) 
In each perfect hand and foot there was a bloody 

Four great iron spikes there were, red and never 

Michael plucked them from the Cross and set them 
-- in the sky. 




Christ's Troop, Mary's Guard, Grod's own men. 
Draw your swords and strike at Hell and strike 

Every steel-bom spark that flies where God's battles 

Flashes past the face of Grod, and is a star. 




(For Robert Cortes Hoffiday ) 

IF I should live in a forest 
And sleep underneath a tree» 
No grove of impudent saplings 
Would make a home for me. 

I'd go where the old oaks gather^ 

Serene and good and strong. 
And they would not sigh and tremble 

And vex me with a song. 

The pleasantest sort of poet 

Is the poet who's old and wise, 
With an old white beard and wrinkles 

About his kind old eyes. 

For these young flippertigibbets 

A-rhyming their hours away 
They won't be still like honest men 

And listen to what you say. 

The young poet screams forever 

About his sex and his soul; 
But the old man listens, and smokes his pipe. 

And polishes its bowl. 




There should be a club for poets 
Who have come to seventy year. 

They should sit in a great hall drinking 
Red wine and golden beer. 

They would shujQ9e in of an evening. 
Each one to his cushioned seat. 

And there would be mellow talking 
And silence rich and sweet. 

There is no peace to be taken 

With poets who are young, 
For they worry about the wars to be fought 

And the songs that must be sung. 

But the old man knows that he's in his chair 
And that God's on His throne in the sky. 

So he sits by the fire in comfort 
And he lets the world spin by. 




WHY is that wanton gossip Fame 
So dumb about this man's affairs? 
Why do we twitter at his name 

Wh^ come to buy his curious wares? 

Here is a shop of wonderment. 

From every land has come a prize; 
Rich spices from the Orient, 

'And fruit that knew Italian skies. 

And figs that ripened by the sea 
In Smyrna, nuts from hot Brazil, 

strange ^t ,^ts from Gen„«.y. 
And currants from a Grecian hill. 

He is the lord of goodly things 
That make the poor man's tabl^ gay. 

Yet of his worth no minstrel sings 
And on his tomb there is no bay. 

Perhaps he lives and dies unpraised. 
This trafficker in humble sweets. 

Because his little shops are raised 
By thousands in the city streets. 



Yet stars in greater numbers shine. 
And violets in millions grow. 

And they in many a golden line 
Are sung, as every child must know. 

Perhaps Fame thinks his worried eyes. 
His wrinkled, shrewd, pathetic f ace. 

His shop, and all he sells and buys 
Are desperately commonplace. 

Well, it is true he has no sword 
To dangle at his booted knees. 

He leans across a slab of board. 
And draws his knife and slices cheese. 

He never heard of chivalry. 
He longs for no heroic times ; 

He thinksrof pickles, olives, tea. 
And dollars, nickels, cents and dimes. 

His world has narrow walls, it seems; 
By counters is his soul confined ; 

wares are all his hopes and dreams. 
They are the fabric of his mind. 



Yet — ^in a room above the store 
There is a woman — and a child 

Pattered just now across the floor; 
The shopman looked at him and smiled. 

For, once he thrilled with high romance 
And turned to love his eager voice. 

Like any cavalier of France 
He wooed the maiden of his choice. 

And now deep in his weary heart 
Are sacred flames that whitely bum. 

He has of Heaven's grace a part 
Who loves, who is beloved in turn. 

And when the long day's work is done» 
( How slow the leaden minutes ran I) 

Home, with his wife and little son» 
He is no huckster, but a man I 

And there are those who grasp his hand. 
Who drink with him and wish him well. ^ 

O iii no drear and lonely land 
Shall he who honours friendship dwell. 



And in his little shop, who knows 
What bitter games of war are played? 

Why, daily on each comer grows 
A foe to rob him of his trade. 

He fights, and for his fireside's sake; 

He fights for clothing and for bread: 
.The lances of his f oemen make 

A steely halo round his head. 

He decks his window artfully. 
He haggles over paltry sums. 

In this strange field his war must be 
And by such blows his triumph comes. 

What if no trumpet sounds to call 
His armed legions to his side? 

What if to no ancestral hall 
He comes in all a victor's pride? 

The scene shall never fit the deed. 

Grotesquely wonders come to pass. 
The fool shall mount an Arab steed 

And Jesus ride upon an ass. 


This man has home and child and wife 
And battle set for every day. 

This man has God and love and life ; 
These stand, all else shall pass away- 

O Carpenter of Nazareth, 
Whose mother was a village maid. 

Shall we, Thy children, blow our breath 
In scorn on any humble trade? 

Have pity on our foolishness 
And give us eyes, that we may see 

Beneath the shopman's climisy dress 
The splendour of humanity I 





ER lips' remark was: "'Oh, you kidT' 
Her soul spoke thus (I know it did) : 

''O king of realms of endless joy» - 
My own, my golden grocer's boy, 

I am a princess forced to dwell 
Within a lonely kitchen cell. 

While you go dashing through the land 
With loveliness on every hand. 

Tour whistle strikes my eager ears 
Like music of the choiring spheres. 

The mighty earth grows faint and reels 
Beneath your thundering wagon wheels. 

How keenly, perilously sweet 
To cling upon that swaying seat I 

How happy she who by your side 
May share the splendours of that ride! 

Ah, if you will not take my hand 
And bear me off across the land, 


Then, traveller troax Arcady, 
Remain awhile and comfort me. 

What other maiden can you find 
So yomig and delicate and kind? 


Her lips' remark was : "Oh, you kid I'* 
Her soul spoke thus (I know it did) • 




(For Aline) 

FROM what old ballad, or from what rich frame 
Did you descend to glorify the earth? 
Was it from Chaucer's singing book you came? 
Or did Watteau's small brushes give you birth? 

Nothing so exquisite as that slight hand 

Could Raphael or Leonardo trace. 
Nor could the poets know in Fairyland 

The changing wonder of your lyric face. 

I would possess a host of lovely things. 
But I am poor and such joys may not be. 

So God who lifts the poor and humbles kings 
Sent loveliness itself to dwell with me. 




WHEN I am tired of earnest men. 
Intense and keen and sharp and dever. 
Pursuing fame with brush or pen, 

Or counting metal disks forever. 
Then from the halls of Shadowland, 
Beyond the trackless purple sea, 
Old Martin's ghost comes back to stand 
Beside my desk and talk to me. 

Still on his delicate pale face 

A quizzical thin smile is showing. 
His cheeks are wrinkled like fine lace, 

His kind blue eyes are gay and glowing. 
He wears a brilliant-hued cravat, 

A suit to match his soft grey hair, 
A rakish stick, a knowing hat, 

A manner blithe and debonair. 

How good that he who always knew 

That being lovely was a duty. 
Should have gold halls to wander through 

And should himself inhabit beauty. 



How like his old unselfish way 

To leave those halls of splendid mirth 

And comfort those condemned to stay 
Upon the dull and sombre earth. 

Some people ask: '"What cruel chance 

Made Martin's life so sad a story?" 
Martin? Why, he exhaled romance. 

And wore an overcoat of glory. 
A fleck of sunlight in the street, 

A horse, a book, a girl who smiled. 
Such visions made each moment sweet 

For this receptive ancient child. 

Because it was old Martin's lot 

To be, not make, a decoration. 
Shall we then scorn him, having not 

His genius of appreciation? 
Rich joy and love he got and gave; 

His heart was merry as his dress; 
Pile laurel wreaths upon his grave 

Who did not gain, but was, success 1 




SEVERE against the pleasant arc of sky 
The great stone box is cruelly displayed. 
The street becomes more dreary from its shade. 
And vagrant breezes touch its walls and die. 
Here suUen convicts in their chains might he, 
Or slaves toil dumbly at some dreary trade. 
How worse than folly is their labour made 
Who cleft the rocks that this might rise on high I 

Yet, as I look, I see a woman's face 

Gleam from a window far above the street. 

This is a house of homes, a sacred place. 
By human passion made divinely sweet. 

How all the building thrills with sudden grace 
Beneath the magic of Love's golden feet 1 





(For Aline) 

NOW by what whim of wanton chance 
Do radiant eyes know sombre days? 
And feet that shod in light should dance 
Walk weary and laborious ways? 

But rays from Heaven, white and whole. 
May penetrate the gloom of earth ; 

And tears but nourish, in your soul. 
The glory of celestial mirth. 

The darts of toil and sorrow, sent 
Against your peaceful beauty, are 

As f ooUsh and as impotent 
As winds that blow against a star. 




WITHIN the broken Vatican 
The murdered Pope is lying dead. 
The soldiers of Valerian 

Their evil hands are wet and red. 

Unarmed, unmoved, St. Laurence waits. 

His cassock is his only mail. 
The troops of Hell have burst the gates. 

But Christ is Lord, He shall prevail. 

They have encompassed him with steel. 

They spit upon his gentle face. 
He smiles and bleeds, nor will I'eveal 

The Church's hidden treasure-place. 

Ah, faithful steward, worthy knight. 
Well hast thou done. Behold thy feel 

Siiv^e thou hast fought the goodly fight 
A martyr's death is fixed for thee. 

St. Laurence, pray for us to bear 
The faith which glorifies thy name. 

St. Laurence, pray for us to share 
The wounds of Love's consimiing flame. 





WHEN you had played with life a space 
And made it drink and lust and sing» 
Tou flung it back into Grod's face 

And thought you did a noble thing. 
"Lo, I have Kved and loved," you said, 

"And sung to fools too dull to hear me. 
Now for a cool and grassy bed 
With violets in blossom near me." 

Well, rest is good for weary feet. 

Although they ran for no great prize; 
And violets are very sweet. 

Although their roots are in your eyes. 
But hark to what the earthworms say 

Who share with you your muddy haven: 
"The fight was on — ^you ran away. 

You are a qoward and a craven. 

The rug is ruined where you bled; 
It was a dirty way to diel 
To put a bullet through your head 
And make a silly woman cryl 


You could not vex the merry stars 
'Not make them heed you, dead or living. 

Not all your puny anger mars 
God's irresistible forgiving. 

"Yes, God forgives and men forget, 

And you're forgiven and forgotten. 
You might be gaily sinning yet 

And quick and fresh instead of rotten. 
And when you think of love and fame 

And all that might have come to pass. 
Then don't you feel a little shame? 

And don't you think you were an ass?" 




**Dulce et decorum est" 

THE bugle echoes shrill and sweety 
But not of war it sings to-day. 
The road is rhythmic with the feet 
Of men-at-arms who come to pray. 

The roses blossom white aad red 
On tombs where weary soldiers He; 

Flags wave above the honoured dead 
And martial music cleaves the sky. 

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel» 
They kept the faith and fought the fight. 

Through flying lead and crimson steel 
They plunged for Freedom aad the Right. 

May we, their grateful children, learn 
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod. 

Who went through fire and death to earn 
At last the accolade of Grod. 

In shining rank on rank arrayed 

They march, the legions of the Lord; 
He is their Captain unafraid. 
The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a 



NOT on the lute, or harp of many strings 
Shall all men praise the Master of all song. 
Our Kfe is brief, one saith, and art is long; 
And skilled must be the laureates of kings. 
Silent, O Ups that utter foolish things I 
Rest, awkward fingers striking all notes wrong I 
How from your toil shall issue, white and strong, 
Music like that God's chosen poet sings? 

There is one harp that any hand can play. 
And from its strings what harmonies arisej 

There is one song that any mouth can say, — 
A song that lingers when all singing dies. 

When on their beads our Mother's children pray, 
Immortal music charms the grateful skies. 





(For Aline) 

HOMER, they tell us, was blind and could not 
see the beautiful faces 
Looking up into his own and reflecting the joy of 

his dream, 
Yet did he seem 
Gifted with eyes that could follow the gods to their 
holiest places. 

I have no vision of gods, not of Eros with love- 
arrows laden, 
Jupiter thundering death or of Juno his white- 
breasted queen. 
Yet have I seen 
All of the joy of the world in the innocent heart of 
a maiden. 





OW is the rhymer's honest trade 
A thing for scornful laughter made. 

The merchant's sneer, the clerk's disdain. 
These are the burden of our pain. 

Because of you did this befall. 
You brought this shame upon us all. 

You little poets mincing there 

With women's hearts and women's hair! 

How sick Dan Chaucer's ghost must be 
To hear you Ksp of "Poesie" I 


A heavy-handed blow, I think, 

Would make your veins drip scented ink. 

You strut and smirk your little while 
So mildly, delicately vile I 

Yom* tiny voices mock God's wrath, 
You snails that crawl along His path I 

Why, what has God or man to do 
With wet, amorphous things like you? 



lis thing alone you have achieved: 
Because of you, it is believed 

That all who earn their bread by rhyme 
Are like yourselves, exuding slime. 

Oh, cease to write, for very shame. 
Ere all men spit upon our name 1 

Take up your needles, drop your pen. 
And leave the poet's craft to men! 




(For Aline) 

BECAUSE the road was steep and long 
And through the dark and lonely land, 
God set upon my lips a song 
And put a lantern in my hand. 

Through miles on weary miles of night 
That stretch relentless in my way 

My lantern bums serene and white. 
An unexhausted cup of day. 

O golden lights and lights like wine. 
How dim your boasted splendours are. 

Behold this little lamp of mine ; 
It is more starlike than a star I 



Patron of Beggars 

WE who beg for bread as we daily tread 
Country lane and city street. 
Let us kneel and pray on the broad highway 

To the saint with the vagrant feet. 
Our altar light is a buttercup bright. 

And our shrine is a bank of sod. 
But still we share St. Alexis' care. 
The Vagabond of God. 

They gave him a home in purple Rome 

And a princess for his bride. 
But he rowed away on his wedding day 

Down the Tiber's rushing tide. 
And he came to land on the Asian strand 

Where the heathen people dwell; 
As a beggar he strayed and he preached and prayed 

And he saved their souls from hell. 

Bowed with years and pain he came back again 

To his father's dwelling place. 
There was none to see who this tramp might be. 

For they knew not his bearded face. 



But his father said, '"Give him drink and bread 

And a couch underneath the stair." 
So Alexis crept to his hole and slept. 

But he might not linger there. 

For when night came down on the seven-hiUed 

And the emperor hurried in, 
Saying, 'Xo, I hear that a saint is near 

Who will cleanse us of our sin," 
Then they looked in vain where the saint had lain, 

For his soul had fled afar, 
From his fleshly home he had gone to roam 

Where the gold-paved highways are. 

We who beg for bread as we daily tread 

Country lane and city street, 
Let us kneel and pray on the broad highway 

To the saint with the vagrant feet. 
Our altar light is a buttercup bright, 

And our shrine is a bank of sod. 
But still we share St. Alexis' care^ 

The Vagabond of Gk)dl 




(For A. K. K.) 

WHAT distant mountains thrill and glow 
Beneath our Lady Folly's tread? 
Why has she left us, wise in woe. 

Shrewd, practical, ui)comforted? 
We cannot love or dream or sing, 

We are too cynical to pray, 
There is no joy in anything 
Since Lady Folly went away. 

Many a knight and gentle maid. 

Whose glory shines from years gone by. 
Through ignorance was unafraid 

And as a fool knew how to die. 
Saint Folly rode beside Jehanne 

And broke the ranks of Hell with her. 
And Folly's smile shone brightly on 

Christ's plaything. Brother Juniper. 

Our minds are troubled and defiled 

By study in a weary school. 
O for the folly of the child I 

The ready coiu'age of the fool I 


Lord, crush our knowledge utterly 
^ And make us humble, simple men; 
And cleansed of wisdom, let us see 
Our Lady Folly's face again. 





(For Sara Teasdale) 

THE lonely f arm, the crowded street 
The palace and the slum. 
Give welcome to my silent feet 
As, bearing gifts, I come. 

Last night a beggar crouched alone, 

A ragged helpless thing; 
I set him on a moonbeam throne — 

T6-day he is a king. 

Last night a king in orb and crown 
Held court with splendid cheer; 

To-day he tears his purple gown 
And moans and shrieks in fear. 

Not iron bars, nor flashing spears. 

Not land, nor sky, nor sea. 
Nor love's artillery of tears 

Can keep mine own from me. 

Serene, unchanging, ever fair, 

I smile with secret mirth 
And in a net of mine own hair 

I swing the captive earth. 



VAIN is the chiming of forgotten bells 
That the wind sways above a ruiaed shrine. 
Vainer his voice in whom no longer dwells 
Hunger that craves immortal Bread and Wine. 

Light songs we breathe that perish with our breath 
Out of our lips that have not kissed the rod. 

They shall not live who have not tasted death. 
They only sing who are struck dumb by God. 





O longer of Him be it said, 
''He hath no place to lay His head. 

In every land a constant lamp 

Flames by His small and mighty camp. 

There is no strange and distant place 
That is not gladdened by His face. 

And every nation kneels to hail 

The Splendour shining through Its veil. 

Cloistered beside the shouting street, 
Silent, He calls me to His feet. 

Imprisoned for His love of me, 
He makes my spirit greatly free. 

And through my lips that uttered sin 
The King of Glory enters in. 





(For Kenton) 

AN iron hand has stilled the throats 
That throbbed with loud and rhythmic glee 
And dammed the flood of silver notes 

That drenched the world in melody. 
The blosmy apple boughs are yearning 
For then- wild choristers' returning. 

But no swift wings flash through the tree. 

Ye that were glad and fleet and strong, 

Shall Silence take you in her net? 
And shall Death quell that radiant song 

Whose echo thrills the meadow yet? 
Burst the frail web about you clinging 
And charm Death's cruel hieart with singing 

Till with strange tears his eyes are wet. 

The scented morning of the year 

Is old and stale now ye are gone. 
No friendly songs the children hear 

Among the bushes on the lawn. 
When babies wander out a-Maying 
Will ye, their bards, afar be straying? 

Unhymned by you, what is the dawn? 



Nay^ sinoe ye loved ye cannot die. 

Above the stars is set your nest. 
Through Heaven's fields ye sing and fly 

And in the trees of Heaven rest. 
And little children in their dreaming 
Shall see your soft black plumage gleaming 

And smile* by your dear music blest. 






(For Thomas Walsh) 


ON nights like this the huddled sheep 
Are like white clouds upon the grass. 
And merry herdsmen guard their sleep. 
And chat and watch the big stars pass. 

It is a pleasant thing to lie 

Upon the meadow on the hill 
With kindly fellowship near by- 

Of sheep and men of gentle wilL 

I lean upon my broken crook 
And dream of sheep and grass and men— 

shameful eyes that cannot look 
On any honest thing again I 

On bloody feet I clambered down 
And fled the wages of my sin, 

1 am the leavings of the town. 
And meanly serve its meanest inn. 

I tramp the courtyard stones in grief. 
While sleep takes man and beast to her. 

And every cloud is calling "Thief I" 
And every star calls "Murderer I'* 



The hand of God is sure and strong, 
Nor shall a man forever flee 

The bitter punishment of wrong. 
The wrath of Grod is over me I 

With ashen bread and wine of tears 
Shall I be solaced in my pain. 

I wear through black and endless years 
Upon my brow the mark of Cain. 

Poor vagabond, so old and mild, 
Will they not keep him for a night? 

And She, a woman great with child. 
So frail and pitiful and white. 

Good people, since the tavern door 
Is shut to you, come here instead. 

See, I have cleansed my stable floor 
And piled fresh hay to make a bed. 

Here is some milk and oaten cake. 

Lie down and sleep and rest you f air. 
Nor fear, O simple folk, to take 

The bounty of a child of care. 

On nights like this the huddled sheep-— 

I never saw a night so fair. 
How huge the sky is, and how deep I 

And how the planets flash and glare I 


At dawn beside my drowsy flock 
What winged music I have heard I 

But now the clouds with singing rock 
As if the sky were turning bird. 

O blinding Light, O blinding Light ! 

Bum through my heart with sweetest pain. 
O flaming Song, most loudly bright. 

Consume away my deadly stain I 

The stable glows against the sky. 
And who are these that throng the way? 

My three old comrades hasten by 
And shining angels kneel and pray. 

The door swings wide — ^I cannot 

I must and yet I dare not see. 
Lord, who am I that I should know — \ 

Lord, Grod, be merciful to me I 

O Whiteness, whiter than the fleece 

Of new-washed sheep on April sod I 
O Breath of Life, O Prince of Peace, 

O Lamb of God, O Lamb of Grodl 





THE air is like a butterjfly 
With frail blue wings. 
The happy earth looks at the sky 
And sings. 



SERENE he stands, with mist serenely crowned. 
And draws a cloak of trees about his breast. 
The thunder roars but cannot break his rest 
And from his rugged face the tempests boimd. 
He does not heed the angry Kghtning's wound. 
The raging blizzard is his harmless guest, 
And human Kfe is but a passing jest 
To him who sees Time spin the years around. 

But fragile souls, in skyey reaches find 
High vantage-points and view him from afar. 

How low he seems to the ascended mind, 
Howi)rief he seems where all things endless are; 

This little playmate of the mighty wind. 
This young companion of an ancient star. 




WHENEVER I walk to Suffem along the 
Erie track 
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles 

broken and black. 
I suppose IVe passed it a hundred times, but I al- 
ways stop for a minute 
And look at the house, the tragic house, the house 
with nobody in it. 

I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there 
are such things ; ' 

That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and 

I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, 
I do; 

For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two. 

This house on the road to Suffem needs a dozen 
panes of glass. 

And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a 
scythe to the grass. 

It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines 
should be trimmed and tied; 

Bat what it needs the mo&t of all is some people liv- 
ing inside. 



If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid 
I'd put a gang of men to work with brush and saw 

and spade. 
I'd buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be 
And I'd find some people who wanted a home and 

give it to them free. 

Now, a new house standing empty, with staring 

window and door. 
Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its 

block in the store. 
But there's nothing moiu'nf ul about it ; it cannot be 

sad and lone 
For the lack of something within it that it has never 


But a house that has done what a house should do, 

a house that has sheltered life. 
That has put its loving wooden arms aroimd a man 

and his wife, 
A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up 

his stumbling feet. 
Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever 

your eyes could meet. 

So whenever I go to Suffem along the Erie track 
I never go by the empty house without stopping and 
looking badcy 



Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and 

the shutters fallen apart. 
For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a 

house with a broken heart. 




THERE'S a brook cm the side of Greylock that 
used to be full of trout. 
But there's nothing there now but minnows; they 

say it is all fished oi^t. 
I fished there many a Summer day some twenty 

years ago, 
And I never quit without getting a mess of a dozen 
or so. 

There was a man, Dave Lilly, who lived on the 

North Adams road. 
And he spent all his time fishing, while his neigh** 

bors reaped and sowed. 
He was the luckiest fisherman in the Berkshire hills, 

I think. 
And when he didn't go fishing he'd sit in the tavern 
and drink. 

Well, Dave is dead and buried and nobody cares 

very much; 
They have no use in Greylock for drunkards and 

loafers and such. 



But I always liked Dave Lilly, he was pleasant as 
you could wish; 

He was shiftless and good-for-nothing, but he cer- 
tainly could fish. 

The other night I was walking up the hiU from 

And I came to the brook I mentioned, and I 

stopped on the bridge and sat down. 
I looked at the blackened water with its little flecks 

of white 
And I heard it ripple and whisper in the still of the 

Summer night. 

And after I'd been there a minute it seemed to me 
I could feel 

The presence of someone near me, and I heard the 
hmn of a reel. 

And the water was chiu'ned and broken, and some- 
thing was brought to land 

By a twist and flirt of a shadowy rod in a deft and 
shadowy hand. 

I scrambled down to the brookside and himted all 

about ; 
There wasn't a sign of a fisherman; tjiere wasn't 

a sign of a trout 


Bttt I heard somebody chuckle behind the hollow 

And I got a whiff of tobacco like Lilly used to 


It's fifteen years, they tell me, since anyone fished 

that brook ; 
And there's nothing in it but miimows that nibble 

the bait off yoiu* hook. 
But before the sim has risen and after the moon has 

I know that it's full of ghostly trout for Lilly's 

ghost to get. 

I guess I'll go to the tavern and get a bottle of rye 
And leave it down by the hollow oak, where Lilly's 

ghost went by. 
I meant to go up on the hillside and try to find his 

And put some flowers on it — ^but this will be better 

for Dave. 



¥11 THEN Dawn strides out to wake a dewy 

Across green fields and yellow hills of hay 
The little twittering birds laugh in his way 

And poise triumphant on his shining arm. 

He bears a sword of flame but not to harm 

The wakened life that feels his quickening sway 
And barnyard voices shrilling ''It is day 1" 

Take by his grace a new and alien charm. 

But in the city, like a woimded thing 

That limps to cover from the angry chase, 

He steals down streets where sickly arc-lights sing. 
And wanly mock his young and shameful face; 

And tiny gongs with cruel fervour ring 
In many a high and dreary sleeping place. 





WHEN on a novers newly printed page 
We find a maudlin eulogy of sin, 
And read of ways that harlots wander in. 
And of sick souls that writhe in helpless rage; 
Or when Romance, bespectacled and sage. 
Taps on her desk and bids the class begin 
To con the problems that have always been 
Perplexed mankind's unhappy heritage ; 

Then in what robes of honour habited 
The laiu*eled wizard of the North appears 1 

Who raised Prince Charlie's cohorts from the dead. 
Made Rose's mirth and Flora's noble tears. 

And formed that siiining legion at whose head 
Rides Waverley, triumphant o'er the years 1 




ALL day I serve among the volumes telling 
Old tales of love and war and high romance ; 
Good company, God wot, is in them dwelling, 
Brave knights who dared to scorn imtoward 

King Arthur — Sidney — Copperfield — ^the daring 
And friendly souls of Meredith's bright page — 

The Pilgrim on his darksome joiu-ney faring. 
And Shakespeare's heroes, great in love and rage. 

Fair ladies, too — ^here Beatrice smiling 

Through hell leads Dante to the happy stars; 

And Heloise, the cruel guards beguiling. 
With Abelard makes mock of convent bars. 

Yet when night comes I leave these folks with 
To open Love's great smnmer-scented tome 
Witiiin whose pages — ^precious beyond measiu-e — 
My own White Flower Lady hath her home. 




SLENDER your hands and soft and 
As petals of moon-kissed roses ; 
Yet the grasp of your fingers slight 
My passionate heart encloses. 

Innocent eyes like delicate spheres 
That are bom when day is dying; 

Yet the wisdom of all the years 
Is in their lovelight lying. 




The Lady World 
Is sleeping on her white and cloudy bed. 

Like petals fiu'led 
Her eyelids close. Beside her dream-filled head 
Her lover stands in silver cloak and shoon. 
The faithful Moon. 

So Love, my Love, 
Sleep on, my Love, my Life, be not afraid. 

The Moon above 
Shall guard the World, and I my little maid. 
Yoiu* life, your love, your dreams are mine to 

So sleep, so sleep. 




LITTLE white bird of the summer sky. 
Silver against the golden sun^ 
Over the green of the hills you fly, 
You and the sweet, wild air are one. 

Glorious sights are in th^tt far place 
Reached by your daisy-petal wing. 

Rose-coloured meteors dive through space. 
Stars made of molten music sing. 

StiU, though your quivering eager flight 
Reaches the groves by Heaven town. 

Where all the angels cry out, ''Alight! 
Stop, little bird, come down, come downl 


Careless you speed over fields of stars. 
Darting through Heaven swift and free ; 

Nothing your arrowy passage bars 
Back to the earth and badk to me. 

Here in the orchard of dream-fruit fair 
Out of my dreams is built your nest. 

Blossoming dreams all the branches bear. 
Fit for my silver dream-bird's rest. 

IdV-a ■»■ -1^ ^'^ - 


Here, since they love you, the young stars shine, 
Through the white petals come their beams. 

Little white love-laden bird of mine. 
Let them shine on you through my dreamt. 





IF it should be my task, I being Grod, 
From whirling atoms to evolve your mate^ 
With hands omnipotent I should create 
A great-souled hero, with the starlight shod. 
The subject worlds should tremble at his nod 
And all the angel host upon him wait» 
Yet he should leave his pomp and splendid state 
And kneel to kiss the ground whereon you trod. 

But Grod, who like a little child is wise. 
Made me, a common thing of earthly day; 

Then bade me go and see within your eyes 
The flame of love that bmns more bright than 

And as I looked I knew with wild surprise 
I was transformed — ^your heart in my heart lay. 





SQUIRE ADAM had two wives, they say. 
Two wives had he, for his delight. 
He kissed and clypt them all the day 
And clypt and kissed them all the night. 
Now Eve like ocean foam was white 
And Lilith roses dipped in wine. 

But though they were a goodly sight 
No lady is so fair as mine. 

To Venus some folk tribute pay 

And Queen of Beauty she is hight. 
And Sainte Marie the world doth sway 

In cenile napery bedight. 

My wonderment these twain invite. 
Their comeliness it is divine, 

And yet I say in their despite. 
No lady is so fair as mine. 

Dame Helen caused a grievous fray. 
For love of her brave men did fight, 

The eyes of her made sages fey 
And put their hearts in wof ul plight. 



To her no rhymes will I indite^ 
For her no garlands will I twine. 

Though she be made of flowers and light 
No lady is so fair as mine. 


Prince Eros, Lord of lovely might 
Who on Olympus dost recline, 

Do I not tell the truth aright? 
No lady is so fair as mine. 




APRIL with her violets. 
May and June with roses, 
Young July with all her flowers, crimson, gold 
and white. 
Each in place her tribute setsi. 
Each her wreath composes. 
Making glad the roadway for the Lady of 

Birds with many colours gay. 
Through the branches flitting. 

Sing, to greet my Lady Love, a lusty welcome 
Even bees make holiday, 
V Hive and honey quitting. 

Tremulous and jubilant they join the eager 

Now the road is flower^paved; 
Timid fawns are peering 
From their pleasant vantage in the roadside's 
leafy green. 



All the world in sunlight laved, 
Soiows the hour is nearing 
That shall bring the golden presence of the 
well-loved Queen. 

HarkI at last the silver triU 
Of a lute is sounding — 
Happy August, purple-clad, appears with all 
her train. 
Sudden sweet the branches fill; 
Every heart is bounding; 
August comes, the kindly nurse of her who is 

And now, with proud and valiant gait. 

An hundred centaurs come. 
Pan rides the foremost one in state; 

The waiting crowd grows dumb. 
Each centaur wears a jewelled thong 

And harness bright of sheen ; 
They draw through surging floods of song 

The carriage of the Queen I 

''Hail I Hail I Hail I to the Queen in her moonstone 

Haill Haill Haill to the Lady whose slaves we arel 



We of the meadows, the rocks and the hills, 
Dwellers in oceans and rivers and rills, 
Beasts of the forests and birds of the air. 
Linnet and butterfly, lion and bear, 
Daisy and daffodiU, spruce-tree and flr, 
yield to our Queen and do homage to hert 
!ail I Hail I Hail I we welcome thy royal sway I 
!aill Hail I Hail I O Queen, on this festal day I 

So all the world kneels down to you, 

And all things are your own ; 
Now let a htmible rhymer sue 

Before your crystal throne. 
Fair Queen, at your rose-petal feet 

Bid me to live and die I 
Not all your world of lovers, Sweet, 

Can love so much as I. 







UNDERNEATH the orchard trees lies a 
gypsy sleeping^ 
Tattered cloak and swarthy face and shaggy 
moonlit hair; 
One brown hand his crazy fiddle in its grasp is keep- 
Through the Land of Dreams he strolls and sings 
his lore songs there. 

Up above the apple blossoms where the stars are 
Free and careless wandering among the clouds 
he goes. 

Singing of his lady-love and for her pleasure twin- 

Wreaths of Heaven flowers, violet and golden 

In his sleep he stirs, and wakes to find his love be- 
side him. 
Pours his load of Dreamland blooms before her 
silver feet, 



Takes her in his arms and as her soft brown tresses 
hide him 
Both together fare to Dreamland up the star- 
paved street. 

t.. ■;. 




NEVER a horn sounds in Sherwood tp-night. 
Friar Tuck's drinking Olympian ale, 
Little John's wandered away from our sight, 
Robin Hood's bow hangs unused on its nail. 
Even the moon has grown weary and pale 
Sick for the glint of Maid Marian's hair. 

But there is one joy on moimtain and dale, 
Fairies abound all the time, everywhere I 

Saints hare attacked them with sacredest might. 

They could not shatter their gossamer mail; 
Steam-driven engines can never affright 

Fairies who dance in their spark-sprinkled trail. 

Still for a warning the sad Banshees wail. 
Still are the Leprechaims ready to bear 

Purses of gold to their captors for bail; 
aboimd all the time, everywhere! 

Oberon, king of the realms of delight. 
May your domain over us never fail. 

Mab, as a rainbow-hued butterfly bright. 
Yours is the glory that age cannot stale. 



When we are planted down under the shale. 
Fairy-folk, drop a few daffodils there. 

Comfort our souls in the Stygian vale ; 
Fairies abound all the time, everywhere. 


White Flower Princess, though sophisters 
Let us be glad in faith that we share. 

None shall the Good People safely assail; 
Fairies abound all the time, everywhere I 




NIGHT is over; tiirough the clover globes of 
crystal shine; 
Birds are calling; sunlight falling on the wet green 

Little wings must folded lie, little lips be still 
While the sun is in the sky, over Fairy Hill. 
Sleep, sleep, sleep, 
Baby with buttercup hair, 
Grolden rays 
Into the violet creep. 
Dream, dream deep ; 
t)ream of the night-revels fair. 
Daylight stays ; 
Sleep, little fairy child, sleep. 

Rest in daytime; night is playtime, all good fairies 

Under sighing grasses lying, off to slumber go. 
Night will come with stars agleam, lilies in her 

Calling you from Hills of Dream back to Fairy- 


Sleep, sleep, sleep. 

Baby with buttercup hair; 
Grolden rays 
Into the violet creep. 
Dream, dream deep ; 

Dream of the night-revels fair. 
Daylight stays ; 
Sleep, little fairy child, sleep. 




FAIR Death, kind Death, it was a gracious deed 
To take that weary vagrant to thy breast. 
Love, Song and Wine had he, and but one need — 




I SLEEP beneath a bracken sheet 
In sunlight or in rain. 
The road dust bums my naked feet, 

The sunrays sear my braiii; 
But children love my fiddle's sound 

And if a lad be straying. 
His mother knows he may be found 
Where old Mad Larry's playing. 

O fiddle, let us follow, follow. 

Till we see my Eileen's face, 
Through the moonlight like a swallow 

Off she flew to some far place. 

O, did you ever love a lass? 

I loved a lass one day. 
And she would lie upon the grass 

And sing while I would play. 
She was a cruel, lovely thing. 

Nor heart nor soul have I, 
For Eileen took them that soft spring 

When she flew to the sky. 



So fiddle, let us f oUow, follow, 
Till we see my Eileen's face. 

Through the moonlight like a swallow 
0£F she flew to some far place. 




THE pleasant turf is dried and marred and 
The grass is dead. 
No soft green shoot, by rain and sunshine reared. 
Lifts up its head. 

I think the grass that made the park so gay 

In early spring 
Now decks the lawns of Heaven where babies play 

And dance and sing. 

And poor old vagabonds who now have left 

The dusty street. 
Find fields of which they were in life bereft. 

Beneath their feet. 





O flower hath so fair a face as this pale love of 
When he bends down to kiss my heart, my petals 

try to twine 
About his lips to hold them fast. He is so vfery f air. 
My lover with the pale, sad face and forest-fragrant 

I think it is a pleasant place, tiiis garden where I 

With gravel walks and grassy mounds and crosses 

in a row. 
There is no toil nor worry here, nor clatter of the 

And here each night my lover comes, pale, sad and 

very sweet. 

He never heeds the violets or lilies tall and white ; 
I am his love, his only love, his Flower of Delight; 
And often when the cold moonbeams are lying all 

My lover kneels the whole night through beside me 

on the groimd. 


How can I miss the sunshine-laden breezes of the 

When all my heart is burning with the kisses of his 

How can I miss the coming of the comfort-bringing 

When his hot tears are fOling me with heaven-sweet 


There is a jealous little bird that envies me my love. 
He sings this bitter, bitter song from his brown nest 

above : 
* Was ever yet a mortal man who wed a flower wife? 
He loves the girl down in your roots whose dead 

breast gives you life.' 


little bird, O jealous bird, fly o£P and cease your 

chatter I 
My lover is my lover, and what can a dead girl 

In his hot kisses and sweet tears I shall my petab 

steep ; 

1 am his love, his only love, I have his heart to keep. 




HE was an evil thing to 
Of joy his mouth was desolate; 
His body was a stunted tree. 
His eyes were pools of lust and hate. 

Now silverly the linnet sings 

On leaves that from his temples start. 
And gay the yellow crocus springs 

From the rich clod that was his heart. 





HIS mind has neither need nor power to know 
The foolish things that men call right and 


For him the streams of pleasant love-wind flow. 

For him the mystic, sleep-compelling song. 
Through love he rules his love-made miiverse. 

And sees with eyes by ignorance made keen 
The f amis and elves whom older eyes disperse, 

Great Pan and all the fairies with their queen. 
King gods, I pray, bestow on him this dole. 

Not wisdom, wealth, nor mighty deeds to do, 
But let him keep his happy pagan soul. 

The poet-vision, simple, free and ttrue. 
To hunt the rainbow-gold and phantom lights, 
And meet with dryads on the wooded heights. 



(ToA. S.) 

IT is not good for poets to grow old. 
For they serve Death that loves and Love that 
And Love and Death, enthroned above the hills. 
Call back their faithful servants to the fold 
Before Age makes them passionless and cold. 

Therefore it is that no more sorry thing 
Can shut the simlight from the thirsty grass 
Than some grey head through which no longer 
Wild dreams more lively than the scent of Spring 
To fire the blood and make the glad ptiouth sing. 

Far happier he, who, young and full of pride 
And radiant with the glory of the sun. 
Leaves earth before his singing time is done. 
All wounds of Time the graveyard flowers hide^^ 
His beauty lives, as fresh as when he died. 

Then through the words wherein his spirit dwells 
The world may see his yoimg impetuous face 
Unmarred by Time, with undiminished grace; 

While memory no piteous story tells 

Of barren days, stale loves and broken spells. 



Brother and Master, we are wed with woe. 
Yea, Grief 's funereal cloud it is that hovers 
About the head of us, thy mournful lovers. 
Uncomf orted and sick with pain we go. 
Dust on our brows and at our hearts the snow. 

The London lights flare on the chattering street, 
Young men and maidens Ipve and dance and die ; 
Wine flows, and the perfumes float up to the sky. 
Once thou couldst feel that this was very sweet. 
Now thou art still — ^mouth, hands and weary feet. 

O subtle mouth, whereon the Sphinx has placed 
The smile of those she kisses at their birth. 
Sing once again, for Spring has thrilled the eartlu 
Nay, thou art dumb. Not even April's taste 
Is sweet to thee in thy live coffin cased. 

There is no harsher tragedy than this — 
That thou, who f eltest as no man before 
Scent, colour, taste and sound and didst outpour 
For us rich draughts of thine enchanted bliss 
Shouldst be plunged down this cruel black abyss. 



Brotho: and Master, if our love could free 
Thy flamebome spirit from its leaden chain. 
Thou shoiildst rise up from this sad house of pain. 
Be young and fair as thou wast wont to be, 
And strong with joy as is the boundless sea. 

Brother and Master, at thy feet we lay 

These roses, red as lips that thou hast sung. 

To mingk with the green and fragrant bay, 
And cypress wreaths above thy head are hung. 

We kneel awhile, tiien turn in tears away. 




DREAMS fade with morning light, 
Niever a mom for thee. 
Dreamer of dreams, good-night. 

Over our earthly sight 

Shadows of woe must be ; 
Dreams fade with morning light. 

Soldiers awake to fight — 

Thou art from strife set free, 
Dreamer of dreams, good-night. 

Day breaketh, cruel, white. 

Lovely the forms that flee ; 
Dreams fade with morning light. 

Thine is the sure delight. 

Sleep-visions stiU to see, 
Dreamer of dreams, good-night. 

Pity us from thy height, 

Dawn-haimted slaves are we; 
Dreams fade with morning light. 
Dreamer of dreams, good-night. 




A GLEAM of light across the night, 
I know that you are there; 
The heavens show the lovely glow 
Of your transcendent hair. 
Your luminous, miraculous, and morning- 

I'll take my silver javelin 

And point it with a star. 
For I have vowed to climb a cloud 

And reach to where you are. 
My javelin's barb shall pierce your hair 

And pin it to the sky, 
And I will run to the island sun 

Where captive you will lie, 
And then I shall dare to touch your hair. 
To steal a tress of your magic hair, 
And bring to the world a tress of hair 

And win the world thereby. 


Or shall I put on a green-sea cloak 

With sunset laces trimmed. 
And shine so gay that the dawn will say 

That her radiance is dimmed? 
There never was a lover could shine more fair 

Than I in my cloak will shine ; 


And all for the sake of your merry hair^ 
lYour whimsical, perilous, golden hair. 
Your lovely, terrihle, golden hair, 
More sweet than love or wine. 

A twisted bit of silver 

Fell down and bruised my face. 
What was it broke my broidered doak, 

And tore the sunset lace? 
I must be clad in sorrow 

Because you are so gay, 
And close my eyes if I would see 

A whiter light than day. 
So lofty is your golden hair, 
I cannot climb to touch your hair, 
I must kneel down to find your hair 

Upon the trampled way. 




(An Old Legend) 

WHEN darkness hovers over earth 
And day gives place to night. 
Then lovers see the Milky Way 

Gleam mystically bright, 
And calling it the Way of Love 
They hail it with delight. 

She was a lady wondrous f air, 

A right brave lover he. 
And sooth they suffered grievous pain 

And sorrowed mightily, 
For they were parted during life 

By leagues of land and sea. 

She died. Then Death came to the man. 

He met him joyfully, 
And said, ''Thou Angel Death, well met I 

Quick, do thy will with me. 
That I may haste to greet my love 

In Heaven^s company." 


Now on one side of Heaven he dwelt 

And on the other, she ; 
And broad between them stretched sheer space 

Whereon no way might be. 
The empty, yawning, awful depth, 

Unplumbed infinity. 

The deathless spheric melody 

Came gently to his ear. 
And diilcet notes, the harmonies 

Of Seraphs chanting near. 
He heeded not for listening 

His lady's voice to hear. 

The Saints and Martyrs romid him ranged 

A goodly company. 
The Virgin, robed in radiance. 

The Holy Trinity. 
He heeded not, but strained his eyes 

His lady's face to see. 

At last from far across the void 

Her voice came, faint and sweet. 
The bright-hued walls of Paradise 

Did the glad sound repeat ; 
Tlie distant stars on which she stood 

Shone bright beneath her feet. 



'Dear Love/' she said, "Oh, come to me I 

I cannot see your face. 
O will not Lord Christ grant to us 

To cross this sea of space?" 
Then thrilled his heart with Love's own might. 

He answered, by Love's grace. 

''The world is wide, and Heaven is wide^ 

From me to thee is far, 
Alas I across Infinity 

No passageways there are. 
Sweetheart, I'll make my way to thee, 

I'll build it, star by star 1" 

Through all the curving vault of sky 

His lusty blows rang out. 
He smote the jewel-studded walls 

And with a mighty shout 
He tore the gleaming masonry 

And posts that stood about. 

He strove to build a massive bridge 

That shoiild the chasm span. 
With heart upheld by hope and love 

His great task he began. 
And toiled and laboured doughtily 

To work his God-like plan, 


He took the heavy beams of gold 

That round him he did see ; 
The beryl, jacinth, sardius, 

That shone so brilliantly. 
And no fair jewel would he spare 

So zealously worked he. 

He stole the gorgeous tinted stuffs 

Whereof are sunsets made. 
And his rude, grasping, eager hands 

On little stars he laid; 
To rob Grod's sacred treasure-house 

He was no whit afraid. 

And so for centuries he worked* 

Across the void at last 

Completed, strong and fast. 
So now the faithful lovers met 

And all their woe was past. 

But soon a shining angel guard 

Sped to the throne of gold 
And said, "Lord, see yon new-made bridge, 

A mortal, overbold, 
Has built it, scorning thy desire I'* 

Straightway the tale he told. 



Then said: ^^Now, Master^ Thou mayst see 

The thing that has been wrought. 
Speak, then, the word, stretch forth Thine hand 

That with the speed of thought 
This poor presumptuous work may fall 

And crumble into naught/' 

Grod looked upon the angel then 

And on the bridge below. 
Then with His smile of majesty 

He said: "Let aU things know, 
This bridge, which has by Love been built, 

I will not overthrow." 

When darkness hovers over earth 

And day gives place to night. 
Then lovers see the Milky Way 

Gleam mystically bright. 
And calling it the Way of Love, 

They hail it with delight. 




THERE two roads cross by Chevely town 
A man is lying dead. 
Tlie rumbling wains of scented hay 

Roll over his fair head ; 
A stake is driven through his hearty 
For his own blood he shed. 

Among the pleasant flower-stars 

By God's own garden gate, 
A little maid fresh come from earth 

One summer night did wait ; 
Her poppy mouth dropped down with fear. 

With fear her eyes were great. 

The angels saw her sinless face. 

The gate was opened wide. 
She only shook her dawn-crowned head 

And would not come inside. 
She was alone, and so afraid— 
' She hid her face and cried. 


Her tears dropped down like sun-filled rain 
Through stars and starless spaoe» 

Until at last in Chevely town 
Where in a moonlit place 

Her lover knelt upon her ^ave^ 
They f eD upon his f aoe. 

Said he, "My love, my only love, 

My Elena, my Sweet I 
Through what wild ways of mystery 

Have strayed your little feet? 
Alone, alone this lonely night 

Where only spirits meet I 

"It is not my bleak desert life 

That turns my heart to lead, 
Not for my empty amis I mourn. 

Nor for my loveless bed; 
But that you wander forth alone 

On heights I may not tread. 

"If I could stand beside you now. 

Sin-burdened though I be, 
I'd bear you through the trackless ways 

From fear and danger free. 
Not God himself could daunt the strong 

Undying love of me I ^ 


"Though Heaven is a pleasant place» 

What joy for you is there? / 

Who tread the jewelled streets alone 

Without my heart to share 
Each throb of yoiu- heart, and my arm 

Around you, O my Fair I 

"I hear your sobbing in the wind. 

And in the simmier rain 
I feel your tears. My heart is pierced 

With your sad, lonely pain. 
My Love I My only Love I I come I 

You shall not call in vainl" 

Where two roads cross by Chevely town 

A man is lying dead. 
The rumbling wains of scented hay 

Roll over his fair head ; 
A stake is driven through his hearty 

For his own blood he shed. 







I'M home from off the stormy sea, 
And down the street 
The folk come out to welcome me 
On eager feet. 
O neighbours, Grod be with you all. 
But for my true love I must call; 
She lingers in her father's hall 
So shy, so sweet ! 

Here is a string of milky pearls 

For her to wear. 
An amber comb to match the curls 
Of her bright hair. 
O neighbours, do not crowd me sol 
Stand by ! stand by ! for I must go 
To put on my love's hand of snow 
This gold ring fair. 

Grood dame, why do you block the way 

And shake your head? 
Must all the things you have to say 
Just now be said? 
O neighboiu"S, let me pass — ^but why — 
My God, what makes you women cry? 
Come tell me that I too may die I 
Is my love dead? 


"Nay, Marjorie's a living thing. 

And fair and strong. 
Yet did you wait to give your ring 
A year too long. 
To seek her love there came the Moon; 
Now Mar jorie at night and noon 
Is chained and sits alone to croon 
The Moon's love-song." 




This book is due on the last DATE stamped below. 

Al^ ^h;> '>tf 

1 a(ta>-S,'SS (TfiiaSiB) 3Bt8